IN TWO VOLUMES.
By W. WORDSWORTH.
Guam nihil ad genium, Papiniane, tuum !
PRINTED FOR T.N.LONGMAN AND O.REES, PATERNOSTER-ROW,
BY BIGGS^AND CO. BRISTOL.
Expostulation and Reply . _ i
The Tables turned ; an Evening Scene, on the
same subject ----__ 4
Animal Tranquillity and Decay, a Sketch - 7
The Complaint of a forsaken Indian Woman - 9
The Last of the Flock 15
Lines left upon a Seat in a Yewr-tree which stands
near the Lake of Esthwaite - - - 21
The Foster-Mother's Tale - - - -25
Goody Blake and Harry Gilt - - - - 29
The Thorn ---_-_. 38
We are Seven -------54
Anecdote for fathers 59
Lines written at a small distance from my House,
and sent by my little Boy to the Person to
whom they are addressed 6i
The Female Vagrant 67
The Dungeon ------ - 83
Simon Lee, the old Huntsman - - - 85
Lines written in early Spring 92
The Nightingale, written in April, 1798. - _ 94
Lines written when sailing in a Boat at Evening - 10 1
Lines written near Richmond, upon the Thames 103
The Idiot Boy 107
Love -_-_-_-» 138
The Mad Mother - - - - - - i45
The Ancient Mariner - - - - -155
Lines written above Tintem Abbey - - - 201
The first Volume of these Poems has already
been submitted to general perusal. It was
published, as an experiment which, I hoped,
might be of some use to ascertain, how far,
by fitting to metrical arrangement a selection
of the real language of men in a state of vivid
sensation, that sort of pleasure and that quantity
of pleasure may be imparted, which a Poet may
rationally endeavour to impart.
I had formed no very inaccurate estimate of the
probable effect of those Poems : I flattered myself
that they who should be pleased with them would
read them with more than common pleasure : and
on the other hand I was well aware that by those
who should dislike them they would be read with
more than common dislike. The result has
differed from my expectation in this only, that I
have pleased a greater number, than I ventured
to hope I should please.
For the sake of variety and from a consciousness
of my own weakness I was induced to request
the assistance of a Friend, who furnished me
with the Poems of the Ancient Mariner, the
Foster-Mother's Tale, the Nightingale,
the Dungeon, and the Poem entitled Love.
I should not, however, have requested this
assistance, had I not believed that the poems
of my Friend would in a great measure
have the same tendency as my own, and that,
though there would be found a difference, there
would be found no discordance in the colours of
our style ; as our opinions on the subject of poetry
do almost entirely coincide.
Several of my Friends are anxious for the success
of these Poems from a belief, that if the views,
with which they were composed, were indeed
realized, a class of Poetry would be produced,
well adapted to interest mankind permanently,
and not unimportant in the multiplicity and in the
quality of its moral relations : and on this account
they have advised me to prefix a systematic defence
of the theory, upon which the poems were written.
But I was unwilling to undertake the task, because
I knew that on this occasion the Reader would
look coldly upon my arguments, since I might
be suspected of having been principally influenced
by the selfish and foolish hope of reasoning him
into an approbation of these particular Poems :
Viil. • PREFACE.
and I was still more unwilling to undertake the
task, because adequately to display my opinions
and fully to enforce my arguments would require
a space wholly disproportionate to the nature of a
preface. For to treat the subject with the clear-
ness and coherence, of which I believe it fufcepti-
ble, it would be necessary to give a full account
of the present state of the public taste in this
country, and to determine how far this 4:aste is
healthy or depraved j which again could not be
determined, without pointing out, in what man-
ner language and the human mind act and react
on each other, and without retracing the revolu-
tions not of literature alone but likewise of society
itself. I have therefore altogether declined to
enter regularly upon this defence ; yet I am sensi-
ble, that there would be some impropriety in
abruptly obtruding upon the Public, without a
few words of introduction, Poems so materially
different from those, upon which general appro-
bation is at present bestowed.
It is supposed, that by the act of writing in verse
an Author makes a formal engagement that he
will gratify certain known habits of association,
that he not only thus apprizes the Reader that
certain classes of ideas and expressions will be
found in *his book, but that others will be care-
fully excluded. This exponent or symbol held
forth by metrical language must in different aeras
of literature have excited very different expecta-
tions : for example, in the age of Catullus Terence
and Lucretia, and that of Statius or CJaudian,
and in our own country, in the age of Shakespeare
and Beaumont and Fletcher, and that of Donne
and Cowley, or Dryden, Or Pope. I will not
take upon me to determine the exact import of
the promise which by the act of writing in verse
an Author in the present day makes to his Reader ;
but I am certain it will appear to many persons
that I have not fulfilled the terms of an engage-
ment thus voluntarily contracted. I hope there-
fore the Reader will not censure me/ if I attempt
to state what I have proposed to myself to perform,
and also, (as far as the limits of a preface will
permit) to explain some of the chief reasons which
have determined me in the choice of my purpose :
that at least he may be spared any unpleasant
feeling of disappointment, and that I myself may
be protected from the most dishonorable accusa-
tion which can be brought against an Author,
namely, that of an indolence which prevents him
from endeavouring to ascertain what is his duty,
or, when his duty is ascertained prevents him
from performing it.
The principal object then which I proposed to
myself in these Poems was to make the incidents
of common life interesting by tracing in them,
truly though not ostentatiously, the primary laws
of our nature : chiefly as far as regards the man-
ner in which we associate ideas in a state of
excitement. Low and rustic life was generally
chosen because in that situation the essential
passions of the heart find a better soil in which
they can attain their maturity, are less under
restraint, and speak a plainer and more emphatic
language ; because in that situation our elementary
feelings exist in a state of greater simplicity and
consequently may be more accurately contempla-
ted and more forcibly communicated ; because
the manners of nfral life germinate from those
elementary feelings 5 and from the necessary
character of rural occupations are more easily
comprehended ) and are more durable 5 and lastly,
because in that situation the passions of men are
incorporated with the beautiful and permanent
forms of nature. The language too of these men
is adopted (purified indeed from what appear to
be its real defe&s, from all lasting and rational
causes of dislike or disgust) because such men
hourly communicate with the best objects from
which the best part of language is -originally
derived j and because, from their rank in society
and the sameness and narrow circle of their inter-
course, being less under the action of social vanity
they convey their feelings and notions in simple
and unelaborated expressions. Accordingly such
a. language arising out of repeated experience and
regular feelings is a more permanent and a far
more philosophical language than that which is
frequently substituted for it by Poets, who think
that they are conferring honour upon themselves
and. their art in proportion as they separate them-
selves from the sympathies of men, and indulge
in arbitrary and capricious habits of expression in
order to furnish food for fickle tastes and fickle
appetites of their own creation.*
* It is worfh while here to observe that the affe&ing parts
of Chaucer are almost always expressed in language pure
and universally intelligible even to this day.
I cannot be insensible of the present outcry
against the triviality and meanness both of thought
and language, which some of my contemporaries
have occasionally introduced into their metrical
compositions ; and I acknowledge that this defect
where it exists, is more dishonorable to the Wri-
ter's own character than false refinement or arbi-
trary innovation, though I should contend at the
same time that it is far les,s pernicious in the sum
of its consequences. From such verses the Poems
in these volumes will be found distinguished at
least by one mark of difference, that each of them
has a worthy purpose. Not that I mean to say,
that I always began to write with a distinct pur-
pose formally conceived ; but I believe that my
habits of meditation have so formed my feelings,,
as that my descriptions of such objects as strongly
excite those feelings, will be found to carry along
with them a purpose. If in this opinion I am
mistaken I can have little right to the name of a
Poet. For all good poetry is the spontaneous
overflow of powerful feelings ; but though this be
true, Poems to which any value can be attached,
were never produced on any variety .of subje&s
but by a man who being possessed of more than
usual organic sensibility had also thought long
and deeply. For our continued influxes of feeling
are modified and directed by our thoughts, which
are indeed the representatives of all our past feel-
ings ; and as by contemplating the relation of
these general representatives to each other, we
discover what is really important to men, so by
the repetition and continuance of this act feelings
connected with important subjects will be nourish-
ed, till at length, if we be originally possessed of
much organic sensibility, such habits of mind
will be produced that by obeying blindly and me-
chanically the impulses of those habits we shall
describe objects and utter sentiments of such a
nature and in such connection with each other,
that the understanding of the being to whom we
address ourselves, ifhebeina healthful state of
association, must necessarily be in some degree
enlightened, his taste exalted, and his affections
I have said that each of these poems has a
purpose. I have also informed my Reader what
this purpose will be found principally to be:
namely to illustrate the manner in which our
feelings and ideas are associated in a state of
excitement. But speaking in less general lan-
guage, it is to follow the fluxes and refluxes of
the mind when agitated by the great and simple
affections of our nature. This object I have endea-
voured in these short essays to attain by various
means ; by tracing the maternal passion through
many of its more subtle windings, as in the poems
of the Idiot Boy and the Mad Mother ; by
accompanying the last struggles of a human being
at the approach of death, cleaving in solitude to
life and society, as in the Poem of the Forsaken
Indian 5 by shewing, as in the Stanzas entitled
We are seven, the perplexity and obscurity
which in childhood attend our notion of death,
or rather our utter inability to admit that notion 3
or by displaying the strength of fraternal, or to
speak more philosophically, of moral attachment
when early associated with the great and beauti-
ful objects of nature, as in The Brothers ; or, as
in the Incident of Simon Lee, by placing my
Reader in the way of receiving from ordinary
moral sensations another and more salutary im-
pression than we are accustomed to receive from
them. It has also been part of my general pur-
pose to attempt to sketch characters under the
influence of less impassioned feelings, as in the
Old Man travelling, The two Thieves, &c.
characters of which the elements are simple, be-
longing rather to nature than to mannners, such
as exist now and will probably always exist, and
which from their constitution may be distinctly
and profitably contemplated. I will not abuse
the indulgence of my Reader by dwelling longer
upon this subject; but it is proper that I should
mention one other circumstance which distin-
guishes these Poems from the popular Poetry of
the day-; it is this, that the feeling therein deve-
loped gives importance to the action and situation
and not the action and situation to the feeling.
My meaning will be rendered perfectly intelligible
by referring my Reader to the Poems entitled Poo r.
Susan and the Childless Father, particularly
to the last Stanza of the latter Poem.
I will not suffer a sense of false modesty to prevent
me from asserting, that I point my Reader's atten-
tion to this mark of distinction far less for the
sake of these particular Poems than from the
general importance of the subject. The subject
is indeed important ! For the human mind is
capable of excitement without the application of
gross and violent stimulants j and he must have
a very faint perception of its beauty and dignity
who does not know this, and who does not fur-
ther know that one being is elevated above
another in proportion as he possesses this capa-
bility. It has therefore appeared to me that to
endeavour to produce or enlarge this capability is
one of the best services in which, at any period,
a Writer can be engaged j but this service, excel-
lent at all times, is especially so at the present day.
For a multitude of causes unknown to former
times are now acting with a combined force to
blunt the discriminating powers of the mind, and
unfitting it for all voluntary exertion to reduce it
to a state of almost savage torpor. The most
effective of these causes are the great national
events which are daily taking place, and the en-
creasing accumulation of men in cities, where the
uniformity of their occupations produces a craving
for extraordinary incident which the rapid com-
munication of intelligence hourly gratifies. To
this tendency of life and manners the literature
and theatrical exhibitions of the country have
conformed themselves. The invaluable works of
our elder writers, I had almost said the works of
Shakespear and Milton, are driven into neglect
by frantic novels, sickly and stupid German Tra-
gedies, and deluges of idle and extravagant stories
in verse. — When I think upon this degrading
thirst after outrageous stimulation I am almost
ashamed to have spoken of the feeble effort with
which I have endeavoured to counteract it ; and
reflecting upon the magnitude of the general
evil, I should be oppressed with no dishonorable
melancholy, had I not a deep impression of certain
inherent and indestructible qualities of the human
mind, and likewise of certain powers in the great
and permanent objects that act upon it which are
equally inherent and indestructible j and did I
not further add to this impression a belief that the
time is approaehing when the evil will be syste-
matically opposed by men of greater powers and
with far more distinguished success.
Having dwelt thus long on the subjects and aim
of these Poems, I shall request the Reader's per-
mission to apprize him of a few circumftances
relating to their style, in order, among other rea-
sons, that I may not be censured for not having
performed what I never attempted. Except in a
very few instances the Reader will find no personi-
fications of abstract ideas in these volumes, not
that I mean to censure such personifications :
they may be well fitted for certain sorts of com-
position, but in these Poems I propose to myself
to imitate, and, as far as possible, to adopt the
very language of men, and 1 do not find that
such personifications make any regular or natural
part of that language. I wish to keep my Reader
in the company of flesh and blood, persuaded that
by so doing I shall interest him. Not but that I
believe that others who pursue a different track
may interest him likewise : I do not interfere
with their claim, I only wish to prefer a different
claim of my own. There will also be found in
these volumes little of what is usually called
poetic diction ; I have taken as much pains to
avoid it as others ordinarily take to produce it 5
this I have done for the reason already alleged,
to bring my language near to the language of men,
and further, because the pleasure which I have
proposed to myself to impart is of a kind very
different from that which is supposed by many
persons to be the proper object of poetry. I do
not know how without being culpably particular
I can give my Reader a more exact notion of the
style in which I wished these poems to be writ-
ten than by informing him that I have at all times
endeavoured to look steadily at my subject, con-
sequently I hope it will be found that there is in
these Poems little falsehood of description, 3nd that
my ideas are expressed in language fitted to their
respective importance. Something I must have
gained by this practice, as it is friendly to one
property of all good poetry, namely good sense j
but it has necessarily cut me off from a large por-
tion of phrases and figures of speech which from
father to son have long been regarded as the
common inheritance of Poets. I have also thought
it expedient to restrict myself still further, having
abstained from the use of many expressions, in
themselves proper and beautiful, but which have
been foolishly repeated by bad Poets till such
feelings of disgust are connected with them as it
is scarcely possible by any art of association to
If in a Poem there should be found a series of lines,
©r even a single line, in which the language*
though naturally arranged and according to the
strict laws of metre, does not differ from that of
prose, there is a numerous class of critics who,
when they stumble upon these prosaisms as they
call them, imagine that they have made a notable
discovery, and exult over the Poet as over a mart
ignorant of his own profession. Now these men
would establish a canon of criticism which the
Reader will conclude he must utterly reject if he
wishes to be pleased with these volumes. And it
would be a most easy task to prove to him that
not only the language of a large portion of every
good poem, even of the most elevated character,
must necessarily, except with reference to the
metre, in no respect differ from that of good prose,
but likewise that some of the most interesting
parts of the best poems will be found to be
strictly the language of prose when prose is well
written. The truth of this assertion might be
demonstrated by innumerable passages from almost
all the poetical writings, even of Milton himself.
I have not space for much quotation j but, to
illustrate the subject in a general manner, I will
here adduce a short composition of Gray, who
was at the head of those who by their reasonings
have attempted to widen the space of separation
betwixt Prose and Metrical composition, and was
more than any other man curiously elaborate in
the structure of his own poetic diction.
In vain to me the smiling mornings shine,
And reddening Phoebus lifts his golden fire :
The birds in vain their amorous descant join,
Or chearful fields resume their green attire :
These ears alas ! for other notes repine ;
A different objecl do these eyes require ;
My lonely anguish melts no heart but mine j
And in my breast the imperfetl joys expire ;
Yet Morning smiles the busy race to cheer,
And new-born pleasure brings to happier men ;
The fields to all their wonted tribute bear ;
To warm their little loves the birds complain,
I fruitless mourn to him that cannot hear
And weep the more because I -weep in vain.
It will easily be perceived that the only part of
this Sonnet which is of any value is the lines
printed in Italics : it is equally obvious that except
in the rhyme, and in the use of the single word
f? fruitless" for fruitlessly, which is so far a defect,
the language of these lines does in no respect
differ from that of prose.
Is there then, it will be asked, no essential dif-
ference between the language of prose and met-
rical composition ? I answer that there neither is
nor can be any essential difference. We are
fond of tracing the resemblance between Poetry
and Painting, and, accordingly, we call them
Sisters : but where shall we find bonds of con-
nection sufficiently strict to typify the affinity
betwixt metrical and prose composition ? They
both speak by and to the same organs ; the bodies
in which both of them are clothed may be said to
be of the same substance, their affections are
kindred and almost identical, not necessarily
differing even in degree ; *Poetry sheds no tears
" such as Angels weep," but natural and human
tears 5 she can boast of no celestial Ichor that
distinguishes her vital juices from those of prose ;
the same human blood circulates through the
veins of them both.
If it be affirmed that rhyme and metrical arrange-
ment of themselves constitute a distinction which
overturns what I have been saying on the strict
affinity of metrical language with that of prose,
and paves the way for other distinctions which
* I here use the word il Poetry" (though against my own
judgment) as opposed to the word Prose, and synonomous
with metrical composition. But much confusion has been
introduced into criticism by this contradistinction of Poetry
and Prose, instead of the more philosophical one of Poetry
and Science. The only stri£l antithesis to Prose is Metre.
the mind voluntarily admits, I answer that the
distinction of rhyme and metre is regular and uni-
form, and not, like that which is produced by
what is usually called poetic diction, arbitrary and
subject to infinite caprices upon which no calcula-
tion whatever can be made. In the one case the
Reader is utterly at the mercy of the Poet re*
fpefting what imagery or diction he may choose
to connect with the passion, whereas in the other
the metre obeys certain laws, to which the Poet
and Reader both willingly submit because they
are certain, and because no interference is made
by them with the passion but such as the con-
curring testimony of ages has shewn to heighten
and improve the pleasure which co- exists with it.
It will now be proper to answer an obvious ques-
tion, namely, why, professing these opinions have
I written in verse ? To this in the first place I
reply, because, however I may have restri&ed
myself, there is still left open to me what con-
fessedly constitutes the most valuable object of
all writing whether in prose or verse, the great
and universal passions of men, the most general
and interesting of their occupations, and the entire
world of nature, from which I am at liberty to
supply myself with endless combinations of forms
and imagery. Now, granting for a moment that
whatever is interesting in these objects may be as
vividly described in prose, why am I to be con-
demned if to such description I have endeavoured
to superadd the charm which by the Consent of
all nations is acknowledged to exist in metrical
language ? To this it will be answered, that a
very small part of the pleasure given by Poetry
depends upon the metre, and that it is injudicious
to write in metre unless it be accompanied with
the other artificial distinctions of style with which
metre is usually accompanied, and that by such
deviation mere will be lost from the shock which
will be thereby given to the Reader s associations
than will be counterbalanced by any pleasure
which he can derive from the general power of
numbers. In answer to those who thus contend
for the necessity of accompanying metre with
certain appropriate colours of style in order to the
accomplishment of its appropriate end, and who
also, in my opinion, greatly under-rate the power
of metre in itself, it might perhaps be almost
sufficient to observe that poems are extant, writ-
ten upon more humble subjects, and in a more
naked and simple style than what I have aimed at,
which poems have continued to give pleasure
from generation to generation. Now, if naked-
ness and simplicity be a defect, the fact here men-
tioned affords a strong presumption that poems
somewhat less naked and simple are capable of
affording pleasure at the present day ; and all
that I am now attempting is to justify myself for
having written under the impression of this
But I might point out various causes why, when
the style is manly, and the subject of some im-
portance, words metrically arranged will long con-
tinue to impart such a pleasure to mankind as he
who is sensible of the extent of that pleasure will
be desirous to impart. The end of Poetry is "to
produce excitement in coexistence with an over-
balance of pleasure. Now, by the supposition,
excitement is an unusual and irregular state of
the mind ; ideas and feelings do not in that state
succeed each other in accustomed order. But if
the words by which this excitement is produced-
are in themselves powerful, or the images and
feelings have an undue proportion of pain con-
nected with them, there is some danger that the
excitement may be carried beyond its proper
bounds. Now the co-presence of something
regular, something to which the mind has been
accustomed when in an un excited or a less excited
state, cannot but have great efficacy in tempering
and restraining the passion by an intertexture of
ordinary feeling. This may be illustrated by appeal-
ing to the Reader's own experience of the reluctance
with which he comes to the re-perusal of the dis-
tressful parts of Clarissa Harlowe, or the Gamester.
While Shakespeare's writings, in the most pathetic
scenes, never act upon us as pathetic beyond the
bounds of pleasure — an effect which is in a great de-
gree to be ascribed to small, but continual andregu-
lar impulses of pleasurable surprise from the metrical
arrangement. — On the other hand (what it must
be allowed will much more frequently happen)
if the Poet's words should be incommensurate
with the passion, and inadequate to raise thd
Reader to a height of desirable excitement, then,
(unless the Poet's choice of his metre has been
grossly injudicious) in the feelings of pleasure
which the Reader has been accustomed to con-
nect with metre in general, and in the feeling,
whether chearful or melancholy, which he has
been accustomed to conned: with that particular
movement of metre, there will be found some-
thing which will greatly contribute to impart
passion to the words, and to effect the complex
end which the Poet proposes to himself.
If I had undertaken a systematic defence of the
theory upon which these poems are written, it
would have been my duty to develope the various
causes upon which the pleasure received from
metrical language depends. Among the chief of
these causes is to be reckoned a principle which
must be well known to those who have made any
of the Arts the object of accurate reflection j I
mean the pleasure which the mind derives from
the perception of similitude in dissimilitude. This
principle is the great spring of the activity of our
minds and their chief feeder. From this princi*-
ple the direction of the sexual appetite, and all
the passions connected with it take their origin :
It is the life of our ordinary conversation j and
upon the accuracy with which similitude in
dissimilitude, and dissimilitude in similitude are
perceived, depend our taste and our moral feel-
ings. It would not have been a useless employ-
ment to have applied this principle to the con-
sideration of metre, and to have shewn that metre
is hence enabled to afford much pleasure, and
to have pointed out in what manner that pleasure
is produced. But my limits will not permit me to
enter upon this subject, and I must content my-
self with a general summary.
I have said that Poetry is the spontaneous overflow
of powerful feelings : it takes its origin from emo-
tion recollected in tranquillity : the emotion is
contemplated till by a species of reaction the
tranquillity gradually disappears, and an emotion,
similar to that which was before the subject of
contemplation, is gradually produced, and does
itself actually exist in the mind. In this mood
successful Composition generally begins, and in a
mood similar to this it is carried on -, but the
emotion, of whatever kind and in whatever de-
gree, from various causes is qualified by various
pleasures, so that in describing any passions what-
soever, which are voluntarily described, the mind
will upon the whole be in a state of enjoyment.
Now if Nature be thus cautious in preserving in
a state of enjoyment a being thus employed,
the Poet ought to profit by the lesson thus held
forth to him, and ought especially to take care,
that whatever passions he communicates to his
Reader, those passions, if his Reader's mind be
sound and vigorous, should always be accompa-
nied with an overbalance of pleasure. Now the
music of harmonious metrical language, the sense
of difficulty overcome, and the blind association of
pleasure which has been previously received from
works of rhyme or metre of the same or similar
Construction, all these imperceptibly make up a
complex feeling of delight, which is of the most
important use in tempering the painful feeling
which will always be found intermingled with
-powerful descriptions of the deeper passions.
This effect is always produced in pathetic and
impassioned poetry j while in lighter composi-
tions the ease and gracefulness with which the
Poet manages his numbers are themselves con-
fessedly a principal source of the gratification of
the Reader. I might perhaps include all which
it is necessary to say upon this subject by affirming
what few persons will deny, that of two descrip-
tions either of passions, manners, or characters,
each of them equally well executed, the one in
prose and the other in verse, the verse will be
read a hundred times where the prose is read
once. We see that Pope by the power of verse
alone, has contrived to render the plainest com-
mon sense interesting, and even frequently to
invest it with the appearance of passion. In con-
sequence of these convictions I related in metre
the Tale of Goody Blake and Harry Gill,
which is one of the rudest of this collection. I
wished to draw attention to the truth that the
power of the human imagination is sufficient to
produce such changes even in our physical nature
as might almost appear miraculous. The truth is
an important one ; the fact (for it is a fad) is a
valuable illustration of it. And I have the satis-
faction of knowing that it has been communicated
to many hundreds of people who would never
have heard of iff had it not been narrated as a
Ballad, and in a more impressive metre than is
usual in Ballads.
Having thus adverted to a few of the reasons why
I have written in verse, and why I have chosen
subjects from common life, and endeavoured to
bring my language near to the real language of
men, if I have been too minute in pleading my
own cause, I have at the same time been treat-
ing a subject of general interest ; and it is for this
reason that I request the Reader's permission to
add a few words with reference solely to these
particular poems, and to some defects which will
probably be found in them. I am sensible that
my associations must have sometimes been par-
ticular instead of general, and that, consequently,
giving to things a false importance, sometimes
from diseased impulses I m; y have written upon
unworthy subjects; but I am less apprehensive
on this account, than that my language may fre-
quently have suffered from those arbitrary con^
nections of feelings and ideas with particular
words, from which no man can altogether protect
himself. Hence I have no doubt that in some
instances feelings even of the ludicrous may be
given to my Readers by expressions which ap-
peared to me tender and pathetic. Such faulty
expressions, were I convinced they were faulty
at present, and that they must necessarily con-
tinue to be so, I would willingly take all rea-
sonable pains to correct. But it is dangerous to
make these alterations on the simple authority of
a few individuals, or even of certain classes of
men ; for where the understanding of an Author
is not convinced, or his feelings altered, this
cannot be done without great injury to himself:
for his own feelings are his stay and support, and
if he sets them aside in one instance, he may be
induced to repeat this act till his mind loses all
confidence in itself and becomes utterly debilitated.
To this it may be added, that the Reader ought
never to forget that he is himself exposed to the
same errors as the Poet, and perhaps in a much
greater degree : for there can be no presumption
in saying that it is not probable he will be so well
acquainted with the various stages of meaning
through which words have passed, or with the
fickleness or stability of the relations of particular
ideas to each other j and above all, since he is
so much less interested in the subject, he may
decide lightly and carelessly.
Long as I have detained my Reader, I hope he
will permit me to caution him against a mode of
false criticism which has been applied to Poetry
in which the language closely resembles that of
life and nature. Such verses have been triumphed
over in parodies of which Dr. Johnson's Stanza is
a fair specimen.
" I put my hat upon my head,
And walk'd into the Strand,
And there I^met another man
"Whose hat was in his hand."
Immediately under these lines I will place one
of the most justly admired stanzas of the " Babes
in the Wood."
" These pretty Babes with hand in hand
Went wandering up and down ;
But never more they saw the Man
Approaching from the Town."
In both of these stanzas the words, and the order
of the words, in no respect differ from the most
unimpassioned conversation. There are words in
both, for example, " the Strand," and 't the Town,"
connected with none but the most familiar ideas j
yet the one stanza we admit as admirable, and
the other as a fair example of the superlatively
contemptible. Whence arises this difference ?
Not from the metre, not from the language, not
from the order of the words j but the matter
expressed in Dr. Johnson's stanza is contemptible.
The proper method of treating trivial and simple
verses to which Dr. Johnson's stanza would be a
fair parallelism is not to say this is a bad kind oi
poetry, or this is not poetry, but this wants sense j
it is neither interesting in itself, nor can lead to
any thing interesting ; the images neither origi-
nate in that sane state of feeling which arises out
of thought, nor can excite thought or feeling in
the Reader. This is the only sensible manner of
dealing with such verses : Why trouble yourself
about the species till you have previously decided
upon the genus ? Why take pains to prove that
an i\.pe is not a Newton when it is self-evident
that he is not a man.
I have one request to make of my Reader, which
is, that in judging these Poems he would decide
by his own feelings genuinely, and not by reflec-
tion upon what will probably be the judgment of
others. How common is it to hear a person say,
" I myself do not object to this style of composi-
tion or this or that expression, but to such and
such classes of people it will appear mean or
ludicrous." This mode of criticism so destructive
of all sound unadulterated judgment is almost
universal : I have therefore to request that the
Reader would abide independently by his own
feelings, and that if he finds himself affected he
would not suffer such conjectures to interfere
with his pleasure.
If an Author by any single composition has im-
pressed us with respect for his talents, it is useful
to consider this as affording a presumption, that,
on other occasions where we have been displeased,
he nevertheless may not have written ill or ab-
surdly ; and, further, to give him so much credit
for this one composition as may induce us to
review what has displeased us with more care
than we should otherwise have bestowed upon it.
This is not only an act of justice, but in our deci-
sions upon poetry especially, may conduce in a
high degree to the improvement of our own taste :
for an accurate taste in Poetry and in all the other
aits, as Sir Joshua Reynolds has observed, is an
acquired talent, which can only be produced by
thought and a long continued intercourse with
the best models of composition. This is men-
tioned not with so ridiculous a purpose as to pre-
vent the most inexperienced Reader from judging
for himself, (I have already said that I wish him
to judge for himself ;} but merely to temper the
rashness of decision, and to suggest that if
Poetry be a subject on which much time has
not been bestowed, the judgment may be
erroneous, and that in many cases it necessarily
will be so.
I know that nothing would have so effectually
contributed to further the end which I have in
view as to have shewn of what kind the pleasure
is, and how the pleasure is produced which is
confessedly produced by metrical composition
essentially different from what I have here en-
deavoured to recommend 5 for the Redder will
say that he has been pleased by such composition
and what can I do more for him ? The power of
any art is limited and he will suspect that if I pro-
pose to furnish him with new friends it is only
upon condition of his abandoning his old friends..
Besides, as I have said, the Reader is himself
conscious of the pleasure which he has received
from such composition, composition to which he-
has peculiarly attached the endearing name of
Poetry ; and all men feel an habitual gratitude,
and something of an honorable bigotry for the
objects which have long continued to please them :
we not only wish to be pleased, but to be pleased
in that particular way in which we have been
accustomed to be pleased. There is a host of
arguments in these feelings ; and I should be the
less able to combat them successfully, as I am .
willing to allow, that, in order entirely to enjoy
the Toetry which I am recommending, it would
be necessary to give up much of what is ordinarily
enjoyed. But would my limits have permitted
me to point out how this pleasure is produced, I
might have removed many obstacles, and assisted
my Reader in perceiving that the powers of lan-
guage are not so limited as he may suppose j and
that it is possible that poetry may give other
enjoyments, of a purer, more lasting, and more
exquisite nature. But this part of my subject I
have been obliged altogether to omit : as it has
been less my present aim to prove that the interest
excited by some other kinds of poetry is less
vivid, and less worthy of the nobler powers of the
mind, than to offer reasons for presuming, that,
if the object which I have proposed to myself
were adequately attained, a species of poetry
would be produced, which is genuine poetry - f
in its nature well adapted to interest man-
kind permanently, and likewise important in
the multiplicity and quality of its moral rela-
From what has been said, and from a perusal of
the Poems, the Reader will be able clearly to
perceive the object which I have proposed to
myself : he will determine how far I have attained
this object j and, what is a much more important
question, whether it be worth attaining; and
upon the decision of these two questions will rest
my claim to the approbation of the public.
" Why, William, on that old grey stone,
" Thus for the length of half a day,
" Why, William, sit you thus alone,
P And dream your time away ?
" Where are your books ? that light bequeathe
<f To beings else forlorn and blind !
" Up ! Up ! and drink the spirit breath'd
" From dead men to their kind.
" You look round on your mother earth,
u As if she for no purpose bore you 5
"- As if you were her first-born birth,
" And none had lived before you !"
One morning thus, by Esthwaite lake,
When life was sweet, I knew not why,
To me my good friend Matthew spake,
And thus I made reply.
" The eye it cannot chuse but see,
u We cannot bid the ear be still ;
** Our bodies feel, where'er they he,
" Against, or with our will.
" Nor less I deem that there are powers
" Which of themselves our minds impress,
H That we can feed this mind of ours
*' In a wise passiveness.
" Think you, mid all this mighty sum
* Of things for ever speaking,
" That nothing of itself will come,
** But we must still be seeking ?
iS — Then ask not wherefore, here, alone,
"' Conversing as I may,
" I sit upon this old grey stone,
" A.nd dream my time away."
THE TABLES TURNED;
An Evening Scene, on the same Subjetl,
Up ! up ! my friend, and clear your looks,
Why all this toil and trouble ?
Up ! up ! my friend, and quit your books,
Or surely you'll grow double.
The sun, above the mountain's head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.
Books ! 'tis a dull and endless strife,
Come, here the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music ; on my life
There's more of wisdom in it.
And hark ! how blithe the throstle sings !
And he is no mean preacher -,
Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.
She has a world of ready wealth,
Our minds and hearts to bless —
Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
Truth breathed by chearfulness.
One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man j
Of moral evil and of good,
Than all the sages can.
Sweet is the lore which nature brings ;
Our meddling intellect
Mishapes the beauteous forms of things ;
—We murder to dissect.
Enough of science and of art j
Close up these barren leaves ;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.
ANIMAL TRANQUILLITY & DECAY.
The little hedge-row birds
That peck along the road, regard him not.
He travels on, and in his face, his step,
His gait, is one expression 5 every limb,
His look and bending figure, all bespeak
A man who does not move with pain, but moves
With thought — He is insensibly subdued
To settled quiet : he is one by whom
All effort seems forgotten, one to whom
Long patience has such mild composure given,
That patience now doth seem a thing, of which
He hath no need, He is by nature led
To peace so perfect, that the young behold
With envy, what the old man hardly feels.
— I asked him whither he was bound, and what
The object of his journey j he replied
That he was going many miles to take
A last leave of his son, a mariner,
Who from a sea-fight had been brought to Falmouth,
And there was lying in an hospital.
OF A FORSAKEN
\When a Northern Indian, from sickness, is unable
to continue his journey ivith his companions j he is
left behind, covered over ivith Deer-skins, and is
supplied 'ivith ivater, food, and fuel if the situation
of the place voill afford it. He is informed of the
track ivkich his companions intend to pursue, and
if he is unable to folloiv, or overtake them, he
perishes alone in the Desart ; unless he should have
the good fortune to fall in ivith some other Tribes
of Indians. It is unnecessary to add that the
i females are equally, or still more, exposed to the
same fate. See that very interesting uuork,
Hearne's Journey from Hudson's Bay to the
Northern Ocean. In the high Northern Lati-
titudes, as the same ivriter informs us, ivhcn the
Northern Lights vary their position in the air,
they make a rustling and a crackling noise. This
circumstance is alluded to in the first stanza of
the following poem.']
Before I see another day,
Oh let my body die away !
In sleep I heard the northern gleams ;
The stars they were among my dreams 5
In sleep did I behold the skies,
I saw the crackling flashes drive 5
And yet they are upon my eyes,
And yet I am alive.
Before I see another day,
Oh let my body die away !
My fire is dead : it knew no pain j
Yet is it dead, and I remain.
All stiff with ice the ashes lie ;
And they are dead, and I will die.
When I was well, I wished to live,
For clothes, for warmth, for food, and fire ;
But they to me no joy can give,
No pleasure now, and no desire.
Then here contented will I lie j
Alone I cannot fear to die.
Alas ! you might have dragged me on
Another day, a single one !
Too soon despair o'er me prevailed ;
Too soon my heartless spirit failed j
When you were gone my limbs were stronger,
And Oh how grievously I rue,
That, afterwards, a little longer,
My friends, I did not follow you !
For strong and without pain I lay,
• - -.-
My friends, when you were gone away.
My child ! they gave thee to another,
A woman who was not thy mother.
When from my arms my babe they took;
On me how strangely did he look !
Through his whole body something ran,
A most strange something did I see j
— As if he strove to be a man,
That he might pull the sledge for me.
And then he stretched his arms, how wild !
Oh mercy ! like a little child.
My little joy ! my little pride !
In two days more I must have died.
Then do not weep and grieve for me j
I feel I must have died with thee.
Oh wind that o'er my head art flying,
The way my friends their course did bend,
I should not feel the pain of dying,
Could I with thee a message send.
Too soon, my friends, you went away ;
For I had many things to say.
I'll follow you across the snow,
You travel heavily and slow :
In spite of all my weary pain,
I'lHook upon your tents again.
My fire is dead, and snowy white
The water which beside it stood ;
The wolf has come to me to-night,
And he has stolen away my food.
For ever left alone am I,
Then wherefore should 1 fear to die *
My journey will be shortly run,
I shall not see another sun,
I cannot lift my limbs to know
If they have any life or no.
My poor forsaken child ! if I
For once could have thee close to me,
With happy heart I then should die.
And my last thoughts would happy be.
I feel my body die away,
I shall not see another day.
LAST OF THE FLOCK.
In distant countries I have been,
And yet I have not often seen
A healthy man, a man full grown,
Weep in the public roads alone.
But such a one, on English ground,
And in the broad high-way, I met ;
Along the broad high- way he came,
His cheeks with tears were wet.
Sturdy he seemed, though he was sad j
And iii his arms a lamb he had.
He saw me, and he turned aside,
As if he wished himself to hide :
Then with his coat he made essay
To wipe those briny tears away.
I follow'd him, and said, " My friend
" What ails you ? wherefore weep you so ?'
— " Shame on me, Sir ! this lusty lamb,
He makes my tears to flow.
To-day I fetched him from the rock j
He is the last of all my flock.
When I was young, a single man,
And after youthful follies ran,
Though little given to care and thought,
Yet, so it was, a ewe I bought ;
And other sheep from her I raised,
As healthy sheep as you might see,
And then. I married, and was rich
As I could wish to be >
Of sheep I numbered a full score,
And every year increas'd my store.
Year after year my stock it grew,
And from this one, this single ewe,
Full fifty comely sheep I raised,
As sweet a flock as ever grazed !
Upon the mountain did they feed j
They throve, and we at home did thrive.
— This lusty lamb of all my store
Is all that is alive j
And now I care not if we die,
And perish all of poverty.
Six children, Sir! had I to feed,
Hard labour in a time of need !
My pride was tamed, and in our grief,
I of the parish ask'd relief.
They said I was a wealthy man $
My sheep upon the mountain fed,
And it was fit that thence I took
Whereof to buy us bread :"
*' Do this ; how can we give to you,"
They cried, " what to the poor is due ?"
I sold a sheep as they had said,
And bought my little children bread,
And they were healthy with their food ;
For me it never did me good.
A woeful time it was for me,
To see the end of all my gains,
The pretty flock which I had reared
With all my care and pains,
To see it melt like snow away I
For me it was a woeful day.
Another still ! and still another !
A little lamb, and then its mother !
It was a vein that never stopp'd,
Like blood-drops from my heart they dropp'd.
Till thirty were not left alive
They dwindled, dwindled, one by one.
And I may say that many a time
I wished they all were gone :
They dwindled one by one away 5
For me it was a woeful day.
To wicked deeds I was inclined,
And wicked fancies cross'd my mind.
And every man I chanc'd to see,
I thought he knew some ill of me.
No peace, no comfort could I find,
No ease, within doors or without,
And crazily, and wearily,
I went my work about.
Oft-times I thought to run away ;
For me it was a woeful day.
Sir ! 'twas a precious flock to me,
As dear as my own children be ;
For daily with my growing store
I loved my children more and more.
Alas ! it was an evil time ;
God cursed me in my sore distress,
I prayed, yet every day I thought
I loved my children less j
And every week, and every day,
My flock, it seemed to melt away,
They dwindled, Sir, sad sight to see !
From ten to five, from five to three,
A lamb, a weather, and a ewe ;
And then at last, from three to two j
And of my fifty, yesterday
I had but only one,
And here it lies upon my arm,
Alas ! and I have none j
To-day I fetched it from the rock -,
It is the last of all my flock,"
Left upon a seat in a YEW-TREE, -which stands near the
hale of ESTHfVAlTE, on a desolate part of the shore,
yet commanding a beautiful prospetl.
— Nay, Traveller ! rest. This lonely yew-tree stands
Far from all human dwelling : what if here
No sparkling rivulet spread the verdant herb -,
What if these barren boughs the bee not loves ;
Yet, if the wind breathe soft, the curling waves,
That break against the shore, shall lull thy mind
By one soft impulse saved from vacancy.
•Who he was
That piled these stones, and with the mossy sod
First covered o'er and taught this aged tree
With its dark arms to form a circling bower,
I well remember. — He was one who owned
No common soul. In youth by science nursed
And led by nature into a wild scene
Of lofty hopes, he to the world went forth,
A favored being, knowing no desire
Which genius did not hallow, 'gainst the taint
Of dissolute tongues, and jealousy, and hate
And scorn, against all enemies prepared*
All but neglect. The world, for so it thought,
Owed him no service : he was like a plant
Fair to the sun, the darling of the winds,
But hung with fruit which no one, that passed by,
Regarded, and, his spirit damped at once,
With indignation did he turn away
And with the food of pride sustained his soul
In solitude. — Stranger ! these gloomy boughs
Had charms for him ; and here he loved to sit,
His only visitants a straggling sheep,
The stone-chat, or the glancing sand-piper;
And on these barren rocks, with juniper,
And heath, and thistle, thinly sprinkled o'er,
Fixing his downcast eye, he many an hour
A morbid pleasure nourished, tracing here
An emblem of his own unfruitful life :
And lifting up his head, he then would gaze
On the more distant scene j how lovely 'tis
Thou seest, and he would gaze till it became
Far lovelier, and his heart could not sustain
The beauty still more beauteous. Nor, that time
1 When Nature had subdued him to herself
Would he forget those beings, to whose minds,
Warm from the labours of benevolence,
The world, and man himself, appeared a scene
Of kindred loveliness : then he would sigh
I With mournful joy, to think that others felt
What he must never feel : and so, lost man !
On visionary views would fancy feed,
Till his eye streamed with tears. In this deep vale
He died, this seat his only monument.
If thou be one whose heart the holy forms
Of young imagination have kept pure,
Stranger ! henceforth be warned ; and know, that pride
Howe'er disguised in its own majesty,
Is littleness j that he, who feels contempt
For any living thing, hath faculties
Which he has never used -, that thought with him
Is in its infancy. The man, whose eye
Is ever on himself, doth look on one,
The least of nature's works, one who might move
The wise man to that scorn which wisdom holds
Unlawful, ever. O, be wiser thou !
Instructed that true knowiedge leads to love^
True dignity abides with him alone
Who, in the silent hour of inward thought,
Can still suspecl, and still revere himself,
In lowliness of heart.
A Narration in Dramatic Blank Fcrse.
But that entrance, Mother !
Can no one hear ? It is a perilous tale !
My husband's father told it me r
Poor old Leoni ! — Angels rest his soul !
He was a woodman, and could fell and saw
With lusty arm. You know that huge round beam
Which props the hanging wall of the old chapel ?
Beneath that tree, while yet it was a tree
He found a baby wrapt in mosses, lined
With thistle beards, and such small locks of wool
As hang on brambles. Well, he brought him home;
And reared him at the then Lord Velez cost.
And so the babe grew up a pretty boy,
A pretty boy, but most unteachable —
And never learnt a prayer, nor told a bead,
But knew the names of birds, and mocked their notes,
And whistled, as he were a- bird himself:
And all the autumn 'twas his only play
To get the seeds of wild flowers, and to plant them
With earth and water, on the stumps of trees.
A Friar, who gathered simples in the wood,
A grey-haired man — he Wed this little boy,
The boy loved him— and, when the Friar taught him.
He soon could write with the pen : and from that time,
Lived chiefly at the Convent or the Castle.
So he became a very learned youth.
But Oh ! poor wretch ! — he read, and read, and read,
'Till his brain turned — and ere his twentieth year,
le had unlawful thoughts of many things :
\nd though he prayed, he never loved to pray
With holy men, nor in a holy place —
3ut yet his speech, it was so soft and sweet,
fhe late Lord Velez ne'er was wearied with him.
\nd once, as by the north side of the Chapel
fhey stood together, chained in deep discourse,
irhe earth heaved under them with such a groan,
f hat the wall tottered, and had well-nigh fallen
light on their heads. My Lord was sorely frightened 5
A fever seized him, and he made confession
Of all the heretical and lawless talk
Which brought this judgment: so the youth was seized
And cast into that cell. My husband's father
Sobbed like a child — it almost broke his heart :
And once as he was working in the cellar,
He heard a voice distinctly 3 'twas the youth's
Who sang a doleful song about green fields,
How sweet it were on lake or wild savannah,
To hunt for food, and be a naked man,
And wander up and down at liberty.
Leoni doted on the youth, and now
His love grew desperate ; and defying death,
He made that cunning entrance I described :
And the young man escaped.
'Tis a sweet tale.
And what became of him ?
He went on ship -board
With those bold voyagers, who made discovery
Of golden lands. Leoni's younger brother
Went likewise, and when he returned to Spain,
He told Leoni, that the poor mad youth,
Soon after they arrived in that new world,
In spite of his dissuasion, seized a boat,
And all alone, set sail by silent moonlight
Up a great river, great as any sea,
And ne'er was heard of more : but 'tis supposed,
He lived and died among the savage men.
GOODY BLAKE Gf HARRY GILL,
A TRUE STORY,
Oh ! what's the matter ? what's the matter ?
What is't that ails young Harry Gill ?
That evermore his teeth they chatter,
Chatter, chatter, chatter still.
Of waistcoats Harry has no lack,
Good duffle grey, and flannel fine j
He has a blanket on his back,
And coats enough to smother nine.
In March, December, and in July,
'Tis all the same with Harry Gill ;
The neighbours tell, and tell you truly,
His teeth they chatter, chatter still.
At night, at morning, and at noon,
'Tis all the same with Harry Gill ;
Beneath the sun, beneath the moon,
His teeth they chatter, chatter still
Young Harry was a lusty drover,
And who so stout of limb as he ?
His cheeks were red as ruddy clover,
His voice was like the voice of three.
Auld Goody Blake was old and poor,
111 fed she was, and thinly clad ;
And any man who pass'd her door,
Might see how poor a hut she had.
All day she spun in her poor dwelling,
And then her three hours' work at night !
Alas ! 'twas hardly worth the telling,
It would not pay for candle-light.
— This woman dwelt in Dorsetshire,
Her hut was on a cold hill-side,
And in that country coals are dear,
For they come far by wind and tide.
By the same fire to boil their pottage,
Two poor old dames as I have known,
Will often live in one small cottage,
But she, poor woman, dwelt alone.
Twas well enough when summer came,
The long, warm, lightsome summer-day,
Then at her door the canty dame
Would sit, as any linnet gay.
But when the ice our streams did fetter.
Oh ! then how her old bones would shake !
You would have said, if you had met her,
'Twas a hard time for Goody Blake.
Her evenings then were dull and dead ;
Sad case it was, as you may think,
For very cold to go to bed,
And then for cold not sleep a wink.
Oh joy for her ! whene'er in winter
The winds at night had made a rout,
And scatter'd many a lusty splinter,
And many a rotten bough about.
Yet never. had she, well or sick,
As every man who knew her says,
A pile before hand, wood or stick,
Enough to warm her for three days.
Now when the frost Was past enduring.
And made her poor old bones to ache,
Could any thing be more alluring,
Than an old hedge to Goody Blake ?
And now and then, it must be said,
When her old bones were cold and chill.
She left her fire, or left her bed,
To seek the hedge of Harry Gill.
Now Harry he had long suspected
This trespass of old Goody Blake,
And vow'd that she should be detected,
And he on her would vengeance take.
And oft from his warm fire he'd go,
And to the fields his road would take,
And there, at night, in frost and snow,
He watch'd to seize old Goody Blake,
And once,, behind a rick of barley*
Thus looking out did Harry stand ;
The moon was full and shining clearly,
And crisp with frost the stubble land.
—He hears a. noise — he's, all awake—*
Again ?— on tip-toe down the hill
He softly creeps— -'Tis; Goody Blake,
She's at the hedge of Harry Gill.
Eight glad was he when he beheld her - y
Stick after stick di4 Goody pull.
He stood behind a bus& of elder,
Till she had filled her apron full.
When with her- load she turned about,
The bye-road! back again to take,
He started, forward with a shout,
And sprang upon poor Goody Blake,
And fiercely by the arm he took her,
And by the arm he held her fast,
And fiercely by the arm he shook her,
And cried, " I've caught you then at last !'*
Then Goody, who had nothing said,
Her bundle from her lap let fall j
And kneeling on the sticks, she pray'd
To God that is the judge of alk
She pray'd, her wither'd hand uprearing,,
While Harry held her by the arm—
" God ! who art never out of hearing,
1 O may he never more be warm !"
The cold, cold moon above her head,
Thus on her knees did Goody pray,
Young Harry heard what she had said,
And icy-cold he turned away.
'He went complaining all the morrow
That he was cold and very chill :
His face was gloom, his heart was sorrow,
Alas ! that day for Harry Gill 1
That day he wore a riding -coat,
But not a whit the warmer he :
Another was on Thursday brought,
And ere the Sabbath he had three.
Twas alHn<vain, ^'useless matter,
And blankets were about him pinn'd ;
Yet still his jaws and teeth they clatter,
Like a loose casement in the wind.
And Harry's flesh it fell away j
And all who see him say 'tis plain,
That, live as long as live he may,
He-never will be warm again.
No word to any man he utters,
A-bed or up, to young or old 3
But ever to himself he mutters,
" Poor Harry Gill is very cold."
A-bed or up, by night or day 5
His teeth they chatter, chatter still.
Now think, ye farmers all, I pray,
Qf Goody Blaks and Harry Gili.
There is a thorn ; itiooks so old,
In truth you'd find it hard to say,
How it could ever have been young,
It looks so old and grey.
Not higher than a two years' child
It stands erect this aged thorn ;
No leaves it has, no thorny points j
It is a mass of knotted joints,
A wretched thing forlorn.
It stands erec"fc, and like a stone
With lichens it is overgrown.
Like rock or stone, it is o'ergroWn
With lichens to the very top,
And hung with heavy tufts of moss,
A melancholy crop :
Up from the earth these mosses creep,
And this poor thorn they clasp it round
So close, you'd say that they were bent
With plain and manifest Intent,
To drag it to the ground $
And all had join'd in one endeavour
To bury this poor thorn for ever.
High on a mountain's highest ridge,
Where oft the stormy winter gale
Cuts like a scythe, while through the clouds
It sweeps from vale to vale j
Not five yards from the mountain-path.
This thorn you on your left espy ;
And to the left, three yards beyond,
You see a little muddy pond
Of water, never dry ;
I've measured it from side to side :
Tis three feet long, and two feet wide.
And close beside this aged thorn? _
There is a fresh and lovely sight,
A beauteous heap, a hill of moss,.
Just half a foot in height..
AH lovely colours there you see,
All colours that were ever seen,
And mossy network too is there,
As if by hand of lady fair
The work had woven been,
And cups, the darlings of the eye^
So deep is their vermiliion dye.
Ali me ! what lovely tints are there !
Of olive green and scarlet bright,
In spikes, in branches, and in stars,
Green, red, and pearl/ white.
This heap of earth o'ergrown with moss,
Which close beside the thorn you see,
So fresh in all its beauteous dyes,
Is like an infant's grave in size
As like as like can be : *
But never, never any where>
An infant's grave was half so fair.
Now would you see this aged thorn,
This pond and beauteous hill of moss,
You must take care and chuse your time
The mountain when to cross.
For oft there sits, between the heap S
That's like an infant's grave in size
And that same pond of which I spoke,
A woman in a scarlet cloak,
And to herself she cries,
** Oh misery ! oh misery 1
** Oh woe is me "! oh misery !"
At all times of the day and night
This wretched woman thither goes,
And she is known *to every star,
And every wind that blows -,
And there beside the thorn she sits
When the blue day-light's in the skies,
And when the whirlwind's on the hiH,
Or frosty air is keen and still,
And to herself she cries,
" Oh miser> r ! oh misery 1
" Oh woe is me ! oh misery ;"
xt Now wherefore thus, by day and nighty
" In rain, in tempest, and in snow
" Thus to the dreary mountain-top
" Does this poor woman go ?
" And why sits she beside the thorn
" When the blue day-light ? s in the sky,
" Or when the whirlwind's on the hill,
*• Or frosty air is keen and still,
" And wherefore does she cry ?-—
" Oh wherefore ? wherefore ? tell me why
" Does she repeat that doleful cry ?"
I cannot tell j I wish I could j
For the true reason no one knows,
But if you'd gladly view the spot,
The spot to which she goes j
The heap that's like an infant's grave^
The pond — and thorn, so old and grey,
Pass, by her door — tis seldom shut —
And if you see her in her hut, .
Then to the spot away ! —
I never heard of such as dare
Approach: the spot when she is there.
u But wherefore to the mountain-top, .
u Can this unhappy woman go,
€( Whatever star is in the skies, r
u Whatever wind may blow ?" "
Nay rack your brain — 'tis all in vain,
3H1 tell you every thing 1 know 5
But to the thorn and to the pond:
Which is a little step beyond,
I wish that you would go :
Perhaps when you are at the place
Yjou something of her tale may trace,.
I'll give you the best help I can :
Before you up the mountain go,
Up to the dreary mountain-top,
I'll tell you all I know.
'Tis now some two and twenty years,
Since she (her name is Martha Ray)
Gave with a maiden's true good will
Her company to Stephen Hill j
And she was blithe and gay,
And she was happy, happy still
Whene'er she thought of Stephen Hill.
And they had fix'd the wedding-day,
The morning that must wed them both ,
But Stephen to another maid
Had sworn another oath ;
And with this other maid to church
Unthinking Stephen went —
Poor Martha ! on that woful day
A cruel, cruel fire, they say,
Into her bones was sent :
It dried her body like a cinder,
And almost turn'd her brain to tinder.
They say, full six months after this.
While yet the summer leaves were green,
She to the mountain-top would go,
And there was often seen.
'Tis said, a child was in her womb,
As now to any eye was plain j
She was with child, and she was mad 5
Yet often she was sober sad
From her exceeding pain.
Oh me ! ten thousand times I'd rather.
That he had died, that cruel father !
Sad case for such a brain to hold
Communion with a stirring child !
Sad case, as you may think, for one
Who had a brain so wild !
Last Christmas when we talked of this,
Old Farmer Simpson did maintain,
That in her womb the infant wrought
About its mother's heart, and brought.
Her senses back again :
And when at last her time drew near,
Her looks were, calm, her senses clear.
No more I know, I wish I did,
And I would tell it all to you j
For what became of this poor child
There's none that ever knew :
And if a child was bom or no*
there's no one that could ever tell
And if 'twas born alive or dead,
There's no one knows, as I have said,
But some remember well,
That Martha Ray about this time
Would up the mountain often climb.
And all that winter, when at night
The wind blew from the mountain-peak,
'Twas worth your while, though in the dark,
The church-yard path to seek :
-For many a time and oft were heard
Cries coming from the mountain-head,
Some plainly living' voices were,
And others, I've heard many swear,
Were voices of the dead :
I cannot think, whate'er they say,
They had to do with Martha Ray.
But that she goes to this old thorn,
The thorn which I've described to you,
And there sits in a scarlet cloak,
I will be sworn is true.
For one day with my telescope,
To view the ocean wide and bright,
When to this country first I came,
Ere I had heard of Martha's name,
I climbed the mountain's height :
A storm came on, and I could see
No object higher than my knee.
'Twas mist and rain, and storm and rain,
No screen, no fence could I discover,
And then the wind ! in faith, it was
A wind full ten times over.
I looked around, I thought I saw
A jutting crag, and off I ran,
Head-foremost, through the driving rain>
The shelter of the crag to gain,
And, as I am a man,
Instead of jutting crag, I found
A woman seated on the ground.
I did not speak — I saw her face,
In truth it was enough for me - 3
I turned about and heard her cry,
fl O misery ! O misery !"
And there she sits, until the moon
Through half the clear blue sky will go,
And when the little breezes make
The waters of the pond to shake,
As all the country know,
She shudders, and you hear her cry,
(( Oh misery ! oh miser}* !
"But what's the thorn ? and what's the pond ?
" And what's the hill of moss to her ?
" And what's the creeping breeze that comes
* The little pond to stir ?"
I cannot tell j but some will say
She hanged her baby on the tree,
Some say she drowned it in the pond;
Which is a little step beyond.
But all and each agree,
The little babe was buried there,
Beneath that hill of moss so fair.
Tve heard, the moss is spotted red
With drops of that poor infant's blood $
But kill a new-born infant thus !
I do not think she could.
Some say, if to the pond you go,.
And fix on it a steady view,
The shadow of a babe you trace,
A baby and a baby's face,
And that it looks at you ;
Whene'er you look on it, 'tis plain
The baby looks at you again.
And someliad sv/orn an oath that she
Should be to public justice brought)
And for the little infant's bones
With spades they would have sought.
But then the beauteous hill of moss
Before their eyes began to stir ;
And for full fifty yards around,
The grass it shook upon the ground $
But all do still aver
The little babe is buried there.
Beneath that hill of moss so fair.
I cannot tell how this may be, r
But plain it is, the thorn is bound
With heavy tufts of moss, that strive
To drag it to the ground.
And this I know, full many a time,
When she was on the mquntain high,
By day, and in the silent night,
When all the .stars shone clear and bright,.
That I have heard her cry,
■* Oh misery ! oh misery !
*' O woe is me ! oh misery !"
WE ARE SEVEN.
A simple child, dear brother Jim,
That lightly draws its breath,
And feels its life in every limb,
What should it know of death ?
I met a little cottage girl,
She was eight years old, she said ;
Her hair was thick with many a curl
That cluster'd round her head.
She had a rustic, woodland air,
And she was wildly clad 5
Her eyes were fair, and very fair,
— Her beauty made me glad.
" Sisters and brothers, little maid,
" How many may you be ?"
" How many ? seven in all," she said,
And wondering looked at me.
u And where are they, I pray you tell r"
She answered, " Seven are we,
" And two of us at Conway dwell,
" And two are gone to sea.
'" Two of us in the church-yard lie,
" My sister and my brother,
" And in the church-yard cottage, I
te Dwell near them with my mother."
" You say that two at Conway dwell,
* And two are gone to sea,
" Yet you are seven ; I pray you tell
* Sweet Maid, how this may be ?"
Then did the little Maid reply,
" Seven boys and girls are we ;
" Two of us in the church-yard lie,
" Beneath the church-yard tree."
" You run about, my little maid,
" Your limbs they are alive 5
" If two are in the church-yard laid,
" Then ye are only five."
%< Their graves are green, they may. b$ seen,"
The little Maid replied,
" Twelve steps or more from my mothers door,
" And they are. side by side.
« My stockings there I often knit,
" My 'kerchief there I hem j
" And there upon the ground I sit-*-
<f I sit and sing to them. $
" And often after sunset, Sir,.
« When it is light and fair,
tf I take my little porringer,
** And eat my supper there.
" The first that died was little Jane j
" In bed she moaning lay,
" Till God released her of her pain,
H And then she went away.
" So in the church -yard she was laid,.
" And all the summer dry,
" Together round her grave we played,.
My brother John and I.
' And when the ground was white with snow^
** And I could run and slide,
" My brother John was forced to go, ,
w And he lies by her. side."
" How many are you then," said I,
<e If they two are in Heaven r"
The little Maiden did reply,
" O Master ! we are seven ."
rr But they are dead \ those two are dead !
" Their spirits are in heaven !"
'Twas throwing words away ; for still
The little Maid would have her will>
And said, " Nay, we are seven l"
ANECDOTE for FATHERS,
"Shewing hoio the practice of Lying may be taught.
I have a boy of five years old,
His face is fair and fresh to see j
•His limbs are cast in beauty's mould,
And dearly he loves me.
One morn we stroll'd on our dry walk^
Our quiet house all full in view,
And held such intermitted talk
As we are wont to do,
My thoughts on former pleasures ran ;
I thought of Kilve's delightful shore,
My pleasant home, when Spring began,
A long; long year before.
A day it was when I could bear
To think, and think, and think again ;
With so much happiness to spare,
1 could not feel a pain.
My boy was by. my side, so slim
And graceful in his rustic dress !
And oftentimes I talked to him
In very idleness.
The young lambs ran a pretty race 5
The morning sun shone bright and warm 5
" Kilve," said J, " was a pleasant place,
"And so is Lis wyn farm.
"-My little boy, which like you more,"
I said and took him by the arm*—
" Our home by Kilve's delightful shore,
" Or here at Liswyn farm }*'
f And tell me; had you rather be,"
I said and held him by the arm,
te At Kilve's smooth shore by the green sea,
" Or here at Liswyn farm ?
In careless mood he looked at me,
While still I held him by the arm,
And said, f < At Kilve I'd rather be
" Than here at Liswyn farm."
" Now, little Edward, say why so 5
My little Edward, tell me why ;"
" I cannot tell, I do not know/'
"*' Why this is strange/' said L
" For, here are woods and green-hills warm :
" There surely must some reason be
" Why you would change sweet Liswyn farm
" For Kilve by the green sea "
At this, my boy hung down his head,
He blush'd with shame, nor made reply ;
And five times to the child I said,
" Why, Edward, tell me, why ?"
His head he raised — there was in sight,
It caught his eye, he saw it plain —
Upon the house-top, glittering bright,
A broad and gilded vane.
Then did the boy his tongue unlock,
And thus to me he made reply ;
" At Kilve there was no weather-cock,
" And that's the reason why."
Oh dearest, dearest boy ! ray heart
For better lore would seldom yearn
Could I but teach the hundredth part,
Of what from thee I learn.
Written at a small distance from my House, and sent by
my little boy to the person to 'whom they are addressed.
It is the first mild day of March :
Each minute sweeter than before,
The red- breast sings from the tall larch
That stands beside our door.
There is a blessing in the air,
Which seems a sense of joy to yield
To the bare trees, and mountains bare,
And grass in the green field.
My Sister ! ('tis a wish of mine)
Now that our morning meal is done,
Make haste, your morning task resign j
Come forth and feel the sun.
Edward will come with you, and pray,
Put on with speed your woodland dress,
And bring no book, for this one day
We'll give to idleness.
No joyless forms shall regulate
Our living Calendar :
We from to-day, my friend, will date
The opening of the year.
Love, now an universal birth, -
From heart to heart is stealing,
From earth to man, from man to earth,
— It is the hour of feeling.
One moment now may give us more
Than fifty years of reason ;
Our minds shall drink at every pore
The spirit of the season.
Some $ilent laws our hearts may make,
Which they shall long obey j
We for the year to come may take
Our temper from to-day.
And from the blessed power that rolls
About, below, above)
We'll frame the measure of our souls,
They shall be tuned to love.
Then come, my sister ! come, I pray,
With speed put on your woodland dress,
And bring no book j for this one day
We 11 give to idleness.
The FEMALE VAGRANT.
By Derwent's side my Father's cottage stood,
(The Woman thus her artless story told)
One field, a flock, and what the neighbouring flood
Supplied, to him were more than mines of gold.
Light was my sleep 5 my day£ in transport roll'd :
With thoughtless joy I stretch'd along the shore
My father's nets, or from the mountain fold
Saw on the distant lake his twinkling oar
Or watch'd his lazy boat still less'ning more and more.
My father was a good and pious man,
An honest man by honest parents bred,
And I believe that, soon as I began
To lisp, he made me kneel beside my bed,
And in his hearing there my prayers I said :
And afterwards, by my good father taught,
I read, and loved the books in which I read ;
For books in every neighbouring house I sought,
And nothing to my mind a sweeter pleasure brought.
Can I forget what charms did once adorn
My garden, stored with pease, and mint, and thyme.
And rose and lilly for the sabbath morn ?
The sabbath bells, and their delightful chime ;
The gambols and wild freaks at shearing time ;
My hen's rich nest through long grass scarce espied ;
The cowslip-gathering at May's dewy prime 5
The swans, that, when I sought the water-side,
I ? rora far to meet me carne ; spreading their snowy pri<
The staff I yet remember which upbore
The bending body of my active sire ;
His seat beneath the honeyed sycamore
When the bees hummed, and chair by winter fire ;
When market-morning came, the neat attire
With which, though bent on haste, myself I deck'd ;
My watchful dog, whose starts of furious ire,
When stranger passed, so often I have check'd 5
The red-breast known for. years, which at my casement
The suns of twenty summers danced along, —
Ah ! little marked, how fast they rolled away :
Then rose a stately hall our woods among,
And cottage after cottage owned its sway.
' No joy to see a neighbouring house, or stray
Through pastures not his own, the master took 5
My Father dared his greedy wish gainsay 5
; He loved his old hereditary nook,
i And ill could I the thought of such sad parting brook.
But when he had refused the proffered gold,
To cruel injuries he became a prey,
Sore traversed in whate'er he bought and sold :
His troubles grew upon him day by day,
Till all his substance fell into decay.
His little range of water was denied 5*
All but the bed where his old body lay,
All, all was seized, and weeping, side by side,
We sought a home where we uninjured might abide.
Can I forget that miserable hour,
When from the last hill-top, my sire surveyed,
Peering above the trees, the steeple tower
That on his marriage-day sweet music made ?
Till then he hoped his bones might there be laid,
Close by my mother in their native bowers :
Bidding me trust in God, he stood and prayed,—
I could not pray : — through tears that fell in showers,
Glimmer'd our dear-loved home, alas ! no longer our* !
* Several of the Lakes in the north of England are 1« out to different Fishermen, in parcels
marked out by imaginary lints drawn from rock to rock.
There was a youth whom I had loved so long,
That when I loved him not I cannot say. <
'Mid the green mountains many and many a song
We two had sung, like gladsome birds in May.
When we began to tire of childish play
We seemed still more and more to prize each other - }
We talked of marriage and our marriage day -,
And I in truth did love him like a brother,
For never could I hope to meet with such another.
His father said, that to a distant town
He must repair, to ply the artist's trade.
What tears of bitter grief till then unknown ?
What tender vows our last sad kiss delayed 1
To him we turned : — we had no other aid.
Like one revived, upon his neck I wept,
And her whom he had loved in joy, he said
He well could love in grief : his faith he kept j
And in a quiet home once more my father slept.
Four years each day with daily bread was Blest,
By constant toil and constant prayer supplied.
Three lovely infants lay upon my breast ;
And often, viewing their sweet smiles, I sighed,
And knew not why. My happy father died
When sad distress reduced the childrens' meal :
Thrice happy ! that from him the grave did hide
The empty loom, cold hearth, and silent wheel,
And tears that flowed for ills which patience could
'Twas a hard change, an evil time was come y
We had no hope, and no relief could gain.
But soon, with proud parade, the noisy drum
Beat round, to sweep the streets of want and pain,
My husband's arms now only served to strain
Me and his children hungering in his view :
In such dismay my prayers and tears were vain :
To join those miserable men he flew ;
And now to the sea-coast, with numbers more, we dre\*
There foul neglect for months and months we bore,
Nor yet the crowded fleet its anchor stirred.
Green fields before us and our native shore,
By fever, from polluted air incurred,
Ravage was made, for which no knell was heard.
Fondly we wished,, and wished away, nor knew,
'Mid that long sickness, and those hopes deferr'd,
That happier days we never more must view :
The parting signal streamed, at last the land withdrew
But from delay the summer calms were past.
On as we drove, the equinoctial deep
Ran mountain&-high before the howling blast.
We gazed with terror on the gloomy sleep
Of them that perished in the whirlwind's sweep,
Untaught that soon such anguish must ensue,
Our hopes such harvest of affliction reap,
That we the mercy of the waves should rue.
We reached the western world, a poor, devoted crew.
Oh ! dreadful price of being to resign
All that is dear in being ! better far
In Want's most lonely cave till death to pine,
Unseen, unheard, unwatched by any star 5
Or in the streets and walks where proud men are,
Better our dying bodies to obtrude,
Than dog-like, wading at the heels of war,
Protract a curst existence, with the brood
That lap (their very nourishment !) their brother's bloo
The pains and plagues that on our heads came down,
Disease and famine, agony and fear,
In wood or wilderness, in camp or town,
It would thy brain unsettle even to hear.
All perished — all, in one remorseless year,
Husband and children ! one by one, by sword
And ravenous plague, all perished : every tear
Dried up, despairing, desolate, on board
A British ship I waked, as from a trance restored.
Peaceful as some immeasurable plain
By the first beams of dawning light impress'd,
In the calm sunshine slept the glittering main.
The very ocean has its hour of rest,
That comes not to the human mourner's breast*
Remote from man, and storms of mortal care,
A heavenly silence did the waves invest :
I looked and looked along the. silent air,
Until it seemed to bring a joy to my despair.
Ah ! how unlike those late terrific sleeps !
And groans, that rage of racking famine spoke :
The unburied dead that lay in festering heaps !
The breathing pestilence that rose like smoke !
The shriek that from the distant battle broke !
The mine's dire earthquake, and the pallid host
Driven by the bomb's incessant thunder-stroke
To loathsome vaults, where heart-sick anguish toss'd,
Hope died, and fear itself in agony was lost !
Yet does that burst of woe congeal my frame,
When the dark streets appeared to heave and gape,
While like a sea the storming army came,
And Fire from hell reared his gigantic shape,
And Murder, by the ghastly gleam, and Rape
Seized their joint prey, the mother and the child 1
But from these crazing thoughts my brain, escape !
— For weeks the balmy air breathed soft and mild,
And on the gliding vessel Heaven and Ocean smiled.
Some mighty gulph of separation past,
I seemed transported to another world : —
A thought resigned with pain, when from the mast
The impatient mariner the sail unfurl'd,
And whistling, called the wind that hardly curled
The silent sea. From the sweet thoughts of home,
And from all hope I was forever hurled.
For me — farthest from earthly port to roam
Was best, could I but shun the spot where man migl
And oft, robb'd of my perfect mind, I thought
At last my feet a resting-place had found :
Here will I weep in peace, (so fancy wrought,)
Roaming the illimitable waters round ',
Here watch, of every human friend disowned,
All day, my ready tomb the ocean -flood —
To break my dream the vessel reached its bound :
And homeless near a thousand homes I stood,
And near a thousand tables pined, and wanted food.
By grief enfeebled was I turned adrift,
Helpless as sailor cast on desart rock j
Nor morsel to my mouth that day did lift,
Nor dared my hand at any door to knock.
I lay, where with his drowsy mates, the cock
From the cross timber of an out-house hung ;
How dismal tolled, that night, the city clock !
At morn my sick heart hunger scarcely stung,
Nor to the beggar's language could I frame my tongue.
So passed another day, and so the third :
Then did I try, in vain, the crowd's resort,
In deep despair by frightful wishes stirr'd,
Near the sea-side I reached a ruined fort :
There, pains which nature could no more support,
With blindness linked, did on my vitals fallj
Dizzy my brain, with interruption short
Of hideous sense j I sunk, nor step could crawl,
And thence was borne away to neighbouring hospital.
"Recovery came with food : but still> my brain
Was weak, nor of the past had memory.
I heard my neighbours* in their beds, complain
Of many things which never troubled me ;
Of feet still bustling round with busy glee,
Of looks where common kindness had no part,
Of service done with careless cruelty,
Fretting the fever round the languid heart,
And groans, which, as they said, would make a deai
These things just served to stir the torpid sense,
Nor pain nor pity in my bosom raised.
Memory, though slow, returned with strength 5 and thence
Dismissed, again on open day I gazed,
At houses, men, and common light, amazed.
The lanes J sought, and as the sun retired,
Came, where beneath the trees a faggot blazed 5
The wild brood saw me weep, my fate enquired,
And gave me food, and rest, more welcome, more desired.
My heart is touched to think that men like these,
TJhe rude earth's tenants, were my first relief:
How kindly did they paint their vagrant ease !
And their long holiday that feared not grief,
For all belonged to all, and each was chief.
No plough their sinews strained 5 on grating road
No wain they drove, and yet, the yellow sheaf
In every vale for their delight was stowed 1
-Ifotthem, in nature's meads, the milky udder flowed,
Semblance, with straw and panniered ass, they made i
Of potters wandering on from door to door :
But life of happier sort to me pourtrayed,
And other joys my fancy to allure ;
The bag-pipe dinning on the midnight moor
In barn uplighted, and companions boon
Well met from far with revelry secure,
In depth of forest glade, when jocund June
Rolled fast along the sky his warm and genial moon.
But ill it suited me, in journey dark
O'er moor and mountain, midnight theft to hatch ;
To charm the surly house-dog's faithful bark,
Or hang on tiptoe at the lifted latch 5
The gloomy lantern, and the dim blue match,
The black disguise, the warning whistle shrill,
And ear still busy on its nightly watch,
Were not for me, brought up in nothing ill ;
Besides, on griefs so fresh my thoughts were brooding si,
What could I do, unaided and unblest?
Poor Father ! gone was every friend of thine :
And kindred of dead husband- are at best
Small help, and, after marriage such as mine,
With little kindness would to me incline.
Ill was I then for toil or service fit :
With tears whose course no effort could confine,
By high- way side forgetful would I sit
Whole hours, my idle arms in moping sorrow knit.
I lived upon the mercy of the fields^
And oft of cruelty the sky accused j
On hazard, or what general bounty yields.
Now coldly given, now utterly refused.
The fields I for my bed have often used :
But, what affii6ts my peace with keenest ruth
Is, that I have my inner self abused,
Foregone the home delight of constant truth,
And clear and open soul, so prized in fearless youth.
Three years a wanderer, often have I view'd,
In tears, the sun towards that country tend
Where my poor heart lost all its fortitude :
And now across this moor my steps I bend —
Oh ! tell me whither for no earthly friend
Have I. She ceased, and weeping turned away,
As if because her tale was at an end
She wept ; — because she had no more to say
Of that perpetual weight which on her spirit lay..
| And this place our forefathers made for man I
This is the process of our love and wisdom
To each poor brother who offends against us—
iMost innocent, perhaps — and what if guilty ?
Is this the only cure ? Merciful God !
Each pore and natural outlet shrivell'd up
By ignorance and parching poverty,
|His energies roll back upon his heart,
And stagnate and corrupt j till changed to poison,
They break out on him, like a loathsome plague spot.
Then we call in our pamper'd mountebanks—
And this is their best cure ! uncomforted-
And friendless solitude, groaning and tears,
And savage faces, at the clanking hour,
Seen through the steams and vapour of his dungeon,
By the lamp's dismal twilight ! So he lies
Circled with evil, till his very soul
Unmoulds its essence, hopelessly deformed
By sights of ever more deformity ! .
With other ministrations thou, O nature !
Healest thy wandering and distempered child :
Thou pourest on him thy soft influences,
Thy sunny hues, fair forms, and breathing c weets,
Thy melodies of woods, and winds, and waters,
Till he relent,, and can no more endure
To be a jarring and a dissonant thing,
Amid this general dance and minstrelsy 5
But, bursting into tears, wins back his way.
His angry spirit healed and harmonized
By the benignant touch of love and beauty.
THE OLD HUNTSMAN,
With an incident in •which he ivas concerned.
In the sweet shire of Cardigan,
Not f?r from pleasant Ivor-hall,
An old man dwells, a little man,
I've heard he once was tall.
Of years he has upon his back,
No doubt, a burthen weighty j
He says he is three score and ten,
But others say he's eighty.
A long blue livery- coat has he,
That's fair behind, and fair before 5
Yet, meet him where you will, you see
At once that he is poor.
Full five and twenty years he lived
A running huntsman merry ;
And, though he has but one eye left,
His cheek is like a cherry.
No man like him the horn could sound,
And no man was so full of glee ;
To say the least, four counties round
Had heard of Simon Lee ;
His master's dead, and no one now
Dwells in the hall of Ivor j
Men, dogs, and horses, all are dead >
He is the sole survivor.
His hunting feats have him bereft
Of his right eye, as you may see :
And then, what limbs those feats have left
To poor old Simon Lee !
He has no son, he has no child,
His wife, an aged woman,
Lives with him, near the waterfall,
Upon the village common.
And he is lean and he is sick.
His dwindled body's half awry,
His ancles they are sworn and thick 5
His legs are thin and dry.
When he was young he little knew
Of husbandry or tillage 5
And now he's forced to work, though weak,
*^*-The weakest in the village.
He all the. country could outrun,
Could leave both man and horse behind 3
And often, ere the race was done,
He reeled and was stone-blind.
And still there's something in the world
At which his heart rejoices ;
For when the chiming hounds are out,
He dearly loves their voices 1
Old Ruth works out of doors with him,
And does what Simon cannot doj
For she, not over stout of limb,
Is stouter of the two.
And though you with your utmost skill
From labour could not wean them,
Alas ! 'tis very little, all
Which they can do between, them,
Beside their moss-grown hut of clay,
Not twenty paces from the door,
A scrap of land they have, but they
Are poorest of the poor.
This scrap of land he from the heath
• Enclosed when he was stronger j
But what avails the land to them,
Which they can till no longer ?
Few months of life has he in store,
As he to you will tell,
For still, the more he works, the more
His poor old ancles swell.
My gentle reader, I perceive
-How patiently you've waited,
And I'm afraid that you expedt
Some tale will be related.
O reader ■! had you in your mind
Such stores as silent thought can bring,
gentle reader ! you would find
A tale in every thing.
What more I have to say is short 5
1 hope you'll kindly take it j
It is no tale j but should you think-,
Perhaps a tale you'll make it.
One summer-day I chanced to see
This old man doing all he could
About the root of an old tree,
A stump of rotten wood.
The mattock totter'd in his hand 5
So vain was his endeavour
That at the root of the old tree
He might have worked for ever,
** You're overtasked, good Simon Lee,
Give me your tool" to him I said ;
And at the word right gladly he
Received my proffer'd aid.
I struck, and with a single blow
The tangled root I sever'd,
At which the poor old man so long
And vainly had endeavoured.
The tears into his eyes were brought.
And thanks and praises seemed to run
So fast out of his heart, I thought
They never would have done.
—I've heard of hearts unkind, kind deeds
With coldness still returning.
Alas ! the gratitude of men
Has oftner leftme mourning.
Written in early Spring.
I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.
To her fair works did nature link
The human soul that through me ran j
And much it griev'd my heart to think
What man has made of man.
Through primrose tufts, in that sweet bower,
The periwinkle trail'd its wreathes ;
And 'tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.
The birds around me hopp'd and play'd :
Their thoughts I 'cannot measure,
But the least motion which they made,
It seem'd a thrill of pleasure.
The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air 5
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.
If I these thoughts may not prevent,
If such be of my creed the plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man ■?
Written in Jpril, 1798.
No cloud, no relique of the sunken day
Distinguishes the West, no long thin slip
Of sullen Light, no obscure trembling hues.
Gome, we will rest on this old mossy Bridge !
You see the glimmer of the stream beneath,
But hear no murmuring : it flows silently
O'er its soft bed of verdure. All is still,
A balmy night ! and tho' the stars be dim,
Yet let us think upon the vernal showers
That gladden the green earth, and we shall rind
A pleasure in the dimness of the stars*
And hark ! the Nightingale begins its song,
u Most musical, most melancholy"* Bird !
A melancholy Bird ? O idle thought !
In nature there is nothing melancholy..
— But some nigh t- wandering Man,whose heart was pierc'd
With the remembrance of a grievous wrong,
Or slow distemper or neglected love,
(And so, poor Wretch ! fiU'd all things with himself
And made all gentle sounds tell back the tale
Of his own sorrows) he and such as he
First named these notes a melancholy strain :
And many a poet echoes the conceit 5
Poet, who hath been building up the rhyme
* " Most musical, most melancholy'' This passage in Milton,
possesses an excellence far superior to that of mere description :
it is spoken in the character of the melancholy Man, and has
therefore a dramatic propriety. The Author makes this remark,
to rescue himself from the charge of having alluded with levity
o a line in Milton : a charge than which none could be more
gainful to him, except perhaps that of having ridiculed his.
When he had better far have stretch'd his-limbs
Beside a brook in mossy forest- dell
By sun or moonlight, to the influxes
Of shapes and sound's and shifting elements
Surrendering his whole spirit, of his song
And of his fame forgetful ! so his fame
Should share in nature's immortality,
A venerable thing ! and so his song
Should make all nature lovelier, and itself
Be lov'd, like nature! — But 'twill not be so ;
And youths and maiden., most poetical
Who lose the deep'ning twilights of the spring*
In ball-rooms and hot theatres, they still
Full of meek sympathy must heave their sighs
O'er Philomela's pity-pleading strains*
My Friend, and my Friend's Sister ! we have learnt
A different lore : we may not thus profane
Nature's sweet voices always full of love
And joyance ! Tis the merry Nightingale
That crowds, and hurries, and precipitates
With fast thick warble his delicious notes,
As he were fearful, that an April night
Would be too short for him to utter forth
His love-chant, and disburthen his full soul
Of all its music ! And I know a grove
Of large extent, hard by a castle huge
Which the great lord inhabits not : and so
This grove is wild with tangling underwood,
And the trim walks are broken up, and grass,
Thin grass and king-cups grow within the paths
But never elsewhere in one place I knew
So many Nightingales : and far and near
In wood and thicket over the wide grove
They answer and provoke each other's songs—
With skirmish and capricious passagings,
And murmurs musical and swift jug jug
And one low piping sound more sweet than all-
Stirring the air with such an harmony,
That should you close your eyes, you might almost
Forget it was not day !
A most gentle maid
Who dwell eth in her hospitable home
Hard by the Castle, and at latest eve,
(Even like a Lady vow'd and dedicate
To something more than nature in the grove)
Glides thro' the pathways 5 she knows all their notes,
That gentle Maid ! and oft, a moment's space,
What time the moon was lost behind a cloud,
Hath heard a pause of silence : till the Mooa
Emerging, hath awaken'd earth and sky
With one sensation, and those wakeful Birds
Have all burst forth in choral minstrelsy,
As if one quick and sudden Gale had swept
An hundred airy harps ! And she hath watch'd
Many a Nightingale perch giddily
On blosmy twig still swinging from the breeze,
And to that motion tune his wanton song,
Like tipsy Joy that reels with tossing head.
Farewell, O Warbler ! till to-moiTow eve,
And you, my friends ! farewell, a short farewell !
We have been loitering long and pleasantly,
And now for our dear homes.— That strain again 1
Full fain it would delay me ! — My dear Babe,
Who, capable of no articulate sound,
Mars all things with his imitative lisp,
How he would place his hand beside his ear,
His little hand, the small forefinger up,
And bid us listen ! And I deem it wise
To make him Nature's playmate. He knows well
The evening star : and once when he awoke
In most distressful mood (some inward pain
Had made up that strange thing, an infant's dream)
I hurried with him to our orchard plot,
And he beholds the moon, and hush'd at once
Suspends his sobs, and laughs most silently,
While his fair eyes that swam with undropt tears
Did glitter in the yellow moon-beam ! Well —
It is a father's tale. But if that Heaven
Should give me life, his childhood shall grow up
Familiar with these songs, that with the night
He may associate Joy 5 Once more farewell,
Sweet Nightingale ! once more, my friends ! farewelL
Written 'when sailing in a Boat
How rich the wave, in front, imprest
With evening twilight's summer hues,
While, facing thus the crimson west,
The boat her silent path pursues !
And see how dark the backward stream I
A little moment past, so smiling !
And still, perhaps, with faithless gleam^
Some other loiterer beguiling.
Such views the youthful bard allure,
But, heedless of the following gloom,
He deems their colours shall endure
'Till peace go with him to the tomb.
-—And let him nurse his fond deceit,
And what if he must die in sorrow !
Who would not cherish dreams so sweet,
Though grief and pain may come to-morrow ?
Written near Richmond upon the Thames.
Glide gently, thus for ever glide,
O Thames ! that other bards may see,,
As lovely visions by thy side
As now, fair river ! come to me.
Oh glide, fair stream ! for ever so 5
Thy quiet soul on all bestowing,
'Till all our minds for ever flow,
As thy deep waters now are flowing.
Vain thought ! yet be as now thou art,
That in thy waters may be seen
The image of a poet's heart,
How bright, how solemn, how serene !
Such as did once the poet bless,
Who, pouring here a * later ditty,
Could find no refuge from distress,
But in the milder grief of pity.
Remembrance ! as we float along,
For him suspend the dashing oar,
And pray that never child of Song
May know his freezing sorrows more.
How calm ! how still ! the only sound,
The dripping of the oar suspended !
— The evening darkness gathers round'
By virtue's honest powers attended.
* Collins's Ode on the death of Thomson, the last written,
I believe, of the poems' which were published during his
life-time. This Ode is also alluded to in the next stanza.
Tiite IDIOT BOY
Tis eight o'clock, — a clear March night,
The moon is up — the sky is blue,
The owlet in the moonlight air,
He shouts from nobody knows where -,
He lengthens out his lonely shout,
Halloo ! halloo ! a long halloo !
-— Why bustle thus about your door,
What means this bustle, Betty Foy ?
Why are you in this mighty fret ?
And why on horseback have you set
Him whom you love, your idiot boy ?
Beneath the moon that shines so bright,
Till she is tired, let Betty Foy
With girt and stirrup fiddle-faddle ;
But wherefore set upon a saddle
Him whom she loves, her idiot boy ?
There's scarce a soul that's out of bed y
Good Betty, put him down again 3
His lips with, joy they burr at you,
But, Betty ! what has he to do
With stirrup, saddle,, or with rein }
The world will say 'tis very idle,
Bethink you of the time of night 5
There's not a mother, no not one,
But when she hears what you have done,
Oh ! Betty she'll be in a fright.
But Betty's bent on her intent,
For her good neighbour, Susan Gale,
Old Susan, she who dwells alone,
Is sick, and makes a piteous moan,
As if her very life would fail.
There's not a house within a mile,
No hand to help them in distress :
Old Susan lies a bed in pain,
And sorely puzzled are the twain,
For what she ails they cannot guess.
And Betty's husband's at the wood,
Where by the week he doth abide,
A woodman in the distant vale ;
There's none to help poor Susan Gale,
What must be done ? what will betide ?
And Betty from the lane has fetched
Her pony, that is mild and good,
Whether he be in joy or pain,
Feeding at will along the lane,
Or bringing faggots from the wood.
And he is all in travelling trim,
And by the moonlight, Betty Foy
Has up upon the saddle set,
The like was never heard of yet,
Him whom she loves, her idiot boy.
And he must post without delay
Across the bridge that's in the dale,
And by the church, and o'er the down,
To bring a doctor from the town,
Or she will die, old Susan Gale,
There is no need of boot or spur,
There is no need of whip or wand,
For Johnny has his holly-bough.
And with a hurly-burly now
He shakes the green bough in his hand.
And Betty o'er and o'er has told
The boy who is her best delight,
Both what to follow, what to shun,
What do, and what to leave undone,
How turn to left, and how to right.
And Betty's most especial charge,
Was, " Johnny ! Johnny ! mind that you
" Come home again, nor stop at all,
" Come home again, whate'er befal,
" My Johnny do, I pray you do."
To this did Johnny answer make,
Both with his head., and with his hand,
And proudly shook the bridle too,
And then ! his words were not a few,
Which Betty well could understand.
And now that Johnny is just going,
Though Betty's in a mighty flurry,
She gently pats the pony's side,
On which her idiot boy must ride,
And seems no longer in a hurry.
But when the pony moved his legs,
Oh ! then for the poor idiot boy ! ^ .
For joy he cannot hold the bridle,
For joy his head and heels are idle,
He's idle all for very joy.
And while the pony moves his legs,
In Johnny's left hand you may see,
The green bough's motionless and dead
The moon that shines above his head
Is not more still and mute than he.
His heart it was so full of glee,
That till full fifty yards were gone,
He quite forgot his holly whip,
And all his skill in horsemanship,
Oh ! happy, happy, happy John.
And Betty's standing at the door,
And Betty's face with joy o'erflows,
Proud of herself, and proud of him,
She sees him in his travelling trim 5
How quietly her Johnny goes.
The silence of her idiot boy,
What hopes it sends to Betty's heart !
He's at the guide-post — he turns right,
She watches till he's out of sight,
And Betty will not then depart.
Burr, burr — now Johnny's lips they burr.
As loud as any mill, or near it,
Meek as a lamb the pony moves,
And Johnny makes the noise he loves.
And Betty listens, glad to hear it.
Away she hies to Susan Gale :
And Johnny's in a merry tune,
The owlets hoot, the owlets curr,
And Johnny's lips they burr, burr, burr.
And on he goes beneath the moon.
His steed and he right well agree,
For of this pony there's a rumour,
That should he lose his eyes and ears,,
And should he live a thousand years,
He never will be out of humour.
But then he is a horse that thinks !
And when he thinks his pace is slack 5
Now, though he knows poor Johnny well,
Yet for his life he cannot tell
What he has got upon his back.
So through the moonlight lanes they go,
And far into the moonlight dale,
And by the church, and o'er the down,
To bring a do&or from the town,
To comfort poor old Susan Gale.
And Betty, now at Susan's side,
Is in the middle of her story,
What comfort Johnny soon wilt bring,
With many a most diverting thing,
Of Johnny's wit and Johnny's glory.
And Betty's still at Susan's side :
By this time she's not quite so flurried ;
Demure with porringer and plate
She sits, as if in Susan's fate
Her life and soul were buried.
But Betty, poor good woman ! she,
You plainly in her face may read it,
Could lend out of that moment's store
Five years of happiness or more,
To any that might need it.
But yet I guess that now and then
With Betty all was not so well/
And to the road she turns her ears,
And thence full many a sound she hears,
Which she to Susan will not tell.
Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans,
f As sure as there's a moon in heaven,"
Cries Betty, " he'll be back again ;
" They'll both be here, 'tis almost ten,
" They'll both be here before eleven."
Poor Susan moans, poor Susan groans,
The clock gives warning for eleven $
'Tis on the stroke—" If Johnny's near,"
Quoth Betty " he will soon be here,
" As sure as there's a moon in heaven."
The clock is on the stroke of twelve,
And Johnny is not yet in sight,
The moon's in heaven, as Betty sees,
But Betty is not quite at ease -,
And Susan has a dreadful night.
And Betty, half an hour ago,
On Johnny vile reflections cast :
" A little idle sauntering thing f
With other names, an endless strings
But now that time is gone and past.
And Betty's drooping at the heart,
That happy time all past and gone,
" How can it be he is so late ?
" The Doctor he has made him wait,.
" Susan ! they'll both be here anon."
And Susan's growing worse and worse.
And Betty's in a sad quandary j
And then there's nobody to say
If she must go or she must stay :
— She's in a sad quandary.
The clock is on the stroke of one j
But neither Doctor nor his guide
Appear along the moonlight road,
There's neither horse nor man abroad,
And Betty's still at Susan's side.
And Susan she begins to fear
Of sad mischances not a few,
That Johnny may perhaps be drown'd,
Or lost perhaps, and never found ;
Which they must both for ever rue.
She prefaced half a hint of this
With, « God forbid it should be true !"
At the first word that Susan said
Cried Betty, rising from the bed,
'* Susan, I'd gladly stay with you.
" I must be gone, I must away,
" Consider, Johnny's but half-wise 5
" Susan, we must take care of him,
" If he is hurt in life or limb"—
" Oh God forbid !" poor Susan cries.
" What can I do ?" says Betty, going,
" What can I do to ease your pain ?
" Good Susan tell me, and I'll stay ;
" I fear you're in a dreadful way,
" But I shall soon be back again."
" Nay, Betty, go ! good Betty, go ?
" There's nothing that can ease my pain.'*
Then off she hies, but with a prayer
That God poor Susan's life would spare,
Till she comes back again.
So, through the moonlight lane she goes,
And far into the moonlight dale 3
And how she ran, and how she walked,
And all that to herself she talked,
Would surely be a tedious tale.
In high and low, above, below,
In great and small, in round and square,
In tree and tower was Johnny seen,
In bush and brake, in black and green,
'Twas Johnny, Johnny, every where*
She's past the bridge that's in the dale,
And now the thought torments her sore,,
Johnny perhaps his horse forsook,
To hunt the moon that's in the brook.
And never will be heard of more.
And now she's high upon the down,
Alone amid a prospect wide ;
There's neither Johnny nor his horse,
Among the fern or in the gorsej
There's neither doctor nor his guide.
" Oh saints ! what is- become of him ?
" Perhaps he's climbed into an oak,
" Where he will stay till he is dead j
" Or sadly he has been misled,
** And joined the wandering gypsey-folk,
* Or him that wicked pony's carried
" To the dark cave, the goblins' hall,
" Or in the castle he's pursuing*
u Among the ghosts, his own undoing 5
" Or playing with the waterfall."
At poor old Susan then she railed,
While to the town she posts away 5
I If Susan had not been so ill*
** Alas ! I should have had him still,,
f My Johnny, till my dying day."
Poor Betty ! in this sad distemper,.
The doctor's self would hardly spare,.
Unworthy things she talked and wild,.
Even he, of cattle the most mild,.
The pony had his share.
And now she's got into the town,
And to the doctor's door she hies ;
'Tis silence all on every side j
The town so long, the town so wide,
Is silent as the skies.
And now she's at the doctor's door,
She lifts the knocker, rap, rap, rap,
The doctor at the casement shews,
His glimmering eyes that peep and doze ;
And one hand rubs his old night-cap.
" Oh Dodor ! Dodor ! where's my Johnny ?'
" I'm here, what is't you want with me ?"
u Oh Sir ! you know I'm betty Foy,
" And I have lost my poor dear boy,
" You know him— him you often see 5
" He's not so wise as some folks be,"
" The devil take his wisdom !" said
The Do&or, looking somewhat grim,
" What, woman ! should I know of him ?"
And, grumbling, he went back to bed.
" O woe is me ! O woe is me !
" Here will I die j here will I die ;
" I thought to find my Johnny here,
" But he is neither far nor near,
•' Oh ! what a wretched mother I !"
She stops, she stands, she looks about,
Which way to turn she cannot tell.
Poor Betty ! it would ease her pain
If she had heart to knock again ;
— The clock strikes three — a dismal knell !
Then up along the town she hies,
No wonder if her senses fail,
This piteous news so much it shock'd her,
She quite forgot to send the Doctor,
To comfort poor old Susan Gale.
And now she's high upon the down,
And she can see a mile of road,
" Oh cruel ! I'm almost three- score 5
" Such night as this was ne'er before,
" There's not a single soul abroad."
She listens, but she cannot hear
The foot of horse, the voice of man ;
The streams with softest sound are flowing,
The grass yon almost hear it growing,
You hear it now if e'er you can.
The owlets through the long blue night
Are shouting to each other still :
Fond lovers, yet not quite hob nob,
They lengthen out the tremulous sob,
That echoes far from hill to hill.
Poor Betty now has lost all hope,
Her thoughts are bent on deadly sin ;
A green-grown pond she just has passed,
And from the brink she hurries fast,
Lest she should drown herself therein.
And now she sits her down and weeps ;
Such tears she never shed before j
t( Oh dear, dear pony ! my sweet joy !
<f Oh carry back my idiot boy !
** And we will ne'er o'erload thee more.
A thought it come into her head 3
" The pony he is mild and good,
" And we have always used him well -,
" Perhaps he's gone along the dell,
" And carried Johnny to the wood."
Then up she springs as if on wings ;
She thinks no more of deadly sin ;
If Betty fifty ponds should see,
The last of all her thoughts would be,
To drown herself therein.
Oh reader ! now that I might tell
What Johnny and his horse are doing !
What they've been doing all this time,
Oh could I put it into rhyme,
A most delightful tale pursuing I
Perhaps, and no unlikely thought I
He with his pony now doth roam
The cliffs and peaks so high that are,
To lay his hands upon a star,
And in his pocket bring it home.
Perhaps he's turned himself about,
His face unto his horse's tail,
And still and mute, in wonder lost,
All like a silent horse-man ghost,
He travels on along the vale.
And now, perhaps, he's hunting-sheep,
A fierce and dreadful hunter he !
Yon valley, that's so trim and green,
In five months* time, should he be seen,
A desart wilderness will be.
Perhaps, with head and heels on fire,
And like the very soul of evil,
He's galloping away, away,
And so he'll gallop on for aye,
The bane of all that dread the devil.
I to the muses have been bound
These fourteen years, by strong indentures :
Oh gentle muses ! let me tell
But half of what to him befel,
For sure he met with strange adventures.
Oh gentle muses ! is this kind
Why will ye thus my suit repel ?
Why of your further aid bereave me I
And can ye thus unfriended leave me i
Ye muses ! whom I love so welL
Who's yon, that, near the waterfall,
Which thunders down with headlong force,
Beneath the moon, yet shining fair,
As careless as if nothing were,
Sits upright on a feeding horse }
Unto his horse, that's feeding free,
He seems, I think, the rein to give 5
Of moon or stars he takes no heed 5
Of such we in romances read,
— Tis Johnny ! Johnny ! as I live.
And that's the very pony too;
Where is she, Where is Betty Foy £
She hardly can sustain her fears |
The roaring water-fall she hears^
And cannot find her idiot boy.
Your pony's worth his weight in gold,
Then calm your terrors, Betty Foy \
She's coming from among the trees,
And now all full in view she sees
Him whom she loves, her idiot boy.
And Betty sees the pony too :
Why stand you thus Good Betty Foy ?
It is no goblin, 'tis no ghost,
'Tis he whom you so long have lost,
He whom you love, your idiot boy.
She looks again — her arms are up —
She screams — she cannot move for joy ;
She darts as with a torrent's force,
She almost has o'erturned the horse,
And fast she holds her idiot boy.
And Johnny burrs, and laughs aloud,
Whether in cunning or in joy,
I cannot tell •> but while he laughs,
Betty a drunken pleasure quaffs,
To hear again her idiot boy.
And now she's at the pony's tail,
And now she's at the pony's head,
On that side now, and now on this,
And almost stifled with her bliss,
A few sad tears does Betty shed.
She kisses o'er and o'er again,
Him whom she loves, her idiot boy,
She's happy here, she's happy there,
She is uneasy every where 5
Her limbs are all alive with joy.
She pats the pony, where or when
She knows not, happy Betty Foy !
The little pony glad may be,
But he is milder far than she,
You hardly can perceiv-e his joy.
" Oh ! Johnny, never mind the Do&or ;
" You've done your best, and that is all."
She took the reins, when this was said>
And gently turned the pony's head
From the loud water-fall.
By this the stars were almost gone,
The moon was setting on the hill,
So pale you scarcely looked at her :
The little birds began to stir,
Though yet their tongues were still.
The pony, Betty, and her boy,
Wind slowly through the woody dale j
And who is she, be-times abroad,
That hobbles up the steep rough road ?
Who is it, but old Susan Gale ?
Long Susan lay deep lost in thought,
And many dreadful fears beset her,
Both for her messenger and nurse j
And as her mind grew worse and worse,
Her body it grew better.
She turned, she toss'd herself in bed*
On all sides doubts and terrors met her;
Point after point did she discuss j
And while her mind was righting thus,
Her body still grew better.
" Alas ! what is become of them ?
" These fears can never be endured,
u I'll to the wood." — The word scarce said,
Did Susan rise up from her bed,
As if by magic cured.
Away she posts up hill and down,
And to the wood at length is come,
She spies her friends, she shouts a greeting ;
Oh me ! it is a merry meeting,
As ever was in Christendom.
The owls have hardly sung their last,
While our four travellers homeward wend j.
The owls have hooted all night long, .
And with the owls began my song.
And with the owls, must end.
For while they all were travelling home.
Cried Betty, " Tell us Johnny, do,
fC Where all this long night you have been,
" What you have heard, what you have seen,
" And Johnny, mind you tell us true."
Now Johnny all night long had heard
The owls in tuneful concert strive 5
No doubt too he the moon had seen 5
For in the moonlight he had been
From eight o'clock till five.
And thus to Betty's question, he,
Made answer, like a traveller bold,
(His very words I give to you,)
" The cocks did crow to-whoo, to-whoo,
" And the sun did shine so cold."
— Thus answered Johnny in his glory,
And that was all his travel's story.
All Thoughts, all Passions, all Delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal Frame,
All are but Ministers of Love,
And feed his sacred flame.
Oft in my waking dreams do I
Live o'er again that happy hour,
When midway on the Mount I lay
Beside the Ruin'd Tower.
The Moonshine stealing o'er the scene
Had blended with the Lights of Eve ;
And she was there, my Hope, my Jo^,
My own dear Genevieve !
She lean'd against the Armed Man,
The Statue of the Armed Knight :
She stood and listend to my Harp
Amid the ling'ring Light.
Few Sorrows hath she of her own,
My Hope, my Joy, my Genevieve !
She loves me best, whene'er I sing
The Songs, that make her grieve.
I play'd a soft and doleful Air,
I sang an old and moving Story—
An old rude Song that fitted well
The Ruin wild and hoary.
She listen d with a flitting Blush,
"With downcast Eyes and modest Grace 5
For well she knew, I could not choose
But gaze upon her Face,
I told her of the Knight, that wore
Upon his Shield a burning Brand ; .
And that for ten long Years he woo'd
The Lady of the Land.
I told her, how he pin'd : and, ah !
The low, the deep, the pleading tone,
With which I sang another's Love,
Interpreted my own.
She Hsten'd with a flitting Blush,
With downcast Eyes and modest Grace ;
And she forgave me, that I gaz'd
foo fondly on her Face !
But when I told the cruel scorn
Which craz'd this bold and lovely Knight,
And that he cross'd the mountain woods
Nor rested day nor night j
That sometimes from the savage Den,
And sometimes from the darksome Shade,
And sometimes starting up at once
In green and sunny Glade,
There came, and look'd him in the face,
An Angel beautiful and bright 5
And that he knew, it was a Fiend,
This miserable Knight !
And that, unknowing what he did,
He leapt amid a murd'rous Band,
And sav'd from Outrage worse than Death
The Lady of the Land;
And how she wept and clasp'd his knees
And how she tended him in vain —
And ever strove to expiate
The Scorn, that craz'd his Brain.
And that she rnirs'd him in a Cave - r
And how his Madness went away
When on the yellow forest leaves
A dying Man he lay $
His dying words — but when I reach'd
That tenderest strain of all the Ditty,
My falt'ring Voice and pausing Harp
Disturb'd her Soul with Pity I
All Impulses of Soul and Sense
Had thrill'd my guileless Genevieve,
The Music, and the doleful Tale,
The rich and balmy Eve ,
And Hopes, and Fears that kindle Hope,
An undistinguishable Throng !
And gentle Wishes long subdued,
Subdued and cherish'd long: !
She wept with pity and delight,
She blusb'd with love and maiden shame $
And, like the murmur of a dream,
I heard her breathe my name.
Her Bosom lieav'd — she stepp'd aside -,
As conscious of my Look, she stepp'd —
Then suddenly with timorous eye
She fled to me and wept.
She half inclosed me with her arms,
She press'd me with a meek embrace j
And bending back her head look'd up,
And gaz'd upon my face.
'Twas partly Love, and partly Fear,
And partly 'twas a bashful Art
That I might rather feel than see
The Swelling of her Heart.
I calm'd her fears ; and she was caJnv
And told her love with virgin Pride.
And so I won my Genevieve,
My bright and beauteous Bride \
The MAD MOTHER,
Her eyes are wild, her head is bare,
The sun has burnt her coal-black hair,
Her eye-brows have a rusty stain,
And she came far from over the main.
She has a baby on her arm,
Or else she were alone ;
And underneath the hay-stack warm,
And on the green-wood stone,
She talked and sung the woods among 5
And it was in the English tongue.
u Sweet babe ! they say that I am mad,
But nay, my heart is far too glad j
And I am happy when I sing
Full many a sad and doleful thing :
Then, lovely baby, do not fear !
I pray thee have no fear of me,
But, safe as in a cradle, here
My lovely baby ! thou shalt be,
To thee I know too much I owe - 7
I cannot work thee any woe.
A fire was once within my brain - }
And in my head a dull, dull pain ;
And fiendish faces one, two, three,
Hung at my breasts, and pulled at me.
But then there came a sight of joy 5
It came at once to do me good j
I waked, and saw my little boy,
My little boy of flesh and blood 5
Oh joy for me that sight to see !
For he was here, and only he.
Suck, little babe, oh suck again !
It cools my blood ; it cools my brain :
Thy lips I feel them, baby ! they
Draw from my heart the pain away.
Oh ! press me with thy little hand;
It loosens something at my chest ;
About that tight and deadly band
I feel thy little fingers press'd.
The breeze I see is in the tree ;
It comes to cool my babe and me.
Oh ! love me, love me, little boy !
Thou art thy mother's only joy 5
And do not dread the waves below,
"When o'er the sea-rock's edge we go ;
The high crag cannot work me harm,
Nor leaping torrents when they howlj
The babe I carry on my arm,
He saves for me my precious soul ;
Then happy lie, for blest am I ;
Without me my sweet babe would die,
Then do not fear, my boy ! for thee
Bold as a lion I will be ;'
And I will always be thy guide.
Through hollow snows and rivers wide
I'll build an Indian bower j I know
The leaves that make the softest bed :
And if from me thou wilt not go,
But still be true 'till I am dead,
My pretty thing ! then thou shalt sing,
As merry as the birds in spring.
Thy father cares not for my breast,
"Tis thine, sweet baby, there to rest t
'Tis all thine own ! and if its hue
Be changed, that was so fair to view,,
'Tis fair enough for thee, my dove !
My beauty, little child, is flown ;
But thou wilt live with me in love,
And what if my poor cheek be brown ?
Tis well for me> thou canst not see
How pale and wan it else would be.
Dread not their taunts, my little life I
I am thy father's wedded wife ;
And underneath the spreading, tree
We two will live in honesty.
If his sweet boy he could forsake,
With me he never would have stay'd :
From him no harm my babe can take, .
But he, poor man ! is wretched made,
And every day we two will pray
For him that's gone and far away.
I'll teaah my boy the sweetest things j
I'll teach him how the owlet sings.
My little babe ! thy lips are still,
And thou hast almost suck'd thy fill.
— Where art thou gone my own dear child?
What wicked looks are those I see ?
Alas ! alas ! that look so wild,
It never, never came from me :
[f thou art mad, my pretty lad>
;hen I must be for ever sad,.
Oh ! smile on me, my little lamb !
For I thy own dear mother am.
My love for thee has well been tried :
I've sought thy father far and wide.
I know the poisons of the shade,
I know the earth-nuts fit for food j
Then, pretty dear, be not afraid 5
We'll find thy father in the wood.
Now laugh and be gay, to the woods away !
And there, my babe 5 we'll live for aye.
A POET'S REVERIE.
How a Ship, having first sailed to the Equator, was
driven by Storms, to the cold •Country towards the
South Pole ; how the Ancient Mariner cruelly, and in-
contempt of the laws of hospitality, killed a Sea-bird ;
and how he was followed by many and strange Judge-
ments ; andinwhat manner he came back to his own.
The ANCIENT MARINER.
A POET's REVERIE.
It is an ancient Mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three :
" By thy long grey beard and thy glittering eye
" Now wherefore stoppest me ?
" The Bridegroom's doors are open'd wide
" And I am next of kin 3
" The Guests are met, the Feast is set,— .
<f May'st hear the merry din.
But still he holds the wedding guest —
There was a Ship, quoth he —
" Nay; if thou'st got a laughsome tale,
" Mariner ! come with me.''
He holds him with his skinny hand,
Quoth he, there was a Ship —
c< Now get thee hence, thou grey-beard Loon i
u Or my Staff shall make thee skip*
He holds him with his glittering eye —
The wedding guest stood still
And listens like a three year's child y
The Mariner hath his will.
The wedding-guest sate on a stone,
He cannot chuse but hear :
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.
The Ship was cheer'd, the Harbour clear'd-
Merrily did we drop
Below the Kirk, below the Hill,
Below the Light-house top.
The Sun came up upon trie left,
Out of the Sea came he :
And he shone bright, and on the right
Went down into the Sea.
Hig'her and higher every day,
Till over the mast at noon —
The wedding-guest here beat his breast,
For he heard the loud bassoon.
The Bride hath pac'd into the Hall,
Red as a rose is she ;
Nodding their heads before her goes
The merry Minstralsy.
The wedding-guest he beat his breast,
Yet he cannot chuse but hear :
And thus spake on that ancient Man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.
But now the North wind came more fierce,
There came a Tempest strong !
And Southward still for days and weeks
Like Chaff we drove along.
And now there came both Mist and Snow,
And it grew wondrous cold ;
And Ice mast-high came floating by
As green as Emerald.
And thro' the drifts the snowy clifts
Did send a dismal sheen -,
Nor shapes of men nor beasts we ken —
The Ice was all between.
The Ice was here, the Ice was there,
The Ice was all around :
It crack'd and growl'd, and roar'd and howl'd-
A wild and ceaseless sound.
At length did cross an Albatross,
Thorough the Fog it came ;
As if it had been a Christian Soul,
We hail'd it in God's name.
The Mariners gave it biscuit-worms,
And round and round it flew :
The Ice did split with a Thunder-fit ;
The Helmsman steer'd us thro'.
And a good south wind sprung up behind,
The Albatross did follow 3
And every day for food or play
Came to the Mariner's hollo !
In mist or cloud on mast or shroud
It perch'd for vespers nine,
Whiles all the night thro' fog-smoke white
Glimmer'd the white moon-shine.
" God save thee, ancient Mariner !
" From the fiends that plague thee thus —
4t Why look'st thou so ?" — with my cross bow
I shot the Albatross.
The Sun now rose upon the right,
Out of the Sea came he j
Still hid in mist ; and on the left
Went down into the Sea.
And the good south wind still blew behind;,
But no sweet Bird did follow
Nor any day for food or play
Came to the Mariner's hollo !
And I had done an hellish thing
And it would work e'm woe :
For all averr'd, I had kill'd the Bird
That made the Breeze to blow.
Nor dim nor red, like an Angel's head;
The glorious Sun uprist :
Then all averrd, I had kill'd the Bird
That brought the fog and mist.
'Tvvas right, said they, such birds to slay
That bring the fog and mist.
The breezes blew, the white foam flew, .
The furrow follow'd free :
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent Sea.
Down dropt the breeze, the Sails dropt dowi
'Twas sad as sad could be
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the Sea.
AH' in a hot and copper sky
The bloody sun at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand>
No bigger than the moon.
Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion,
As idle as a painted Ship
Upon a painted Ocean.
Water, water, every where
And all the boards did shrink - }
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
The very deeps did rot : O Christ !
That ever this should be !
Yea> slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy Sea.
About, about, in reel and rout
The Death-fires dane'd at night 5
The water, like a witch's oils,
Burnt green and blue and white.
And some in dreams assured were
Of the Spirit that plagued us so :
Nine fathom deep he had follow'd us
From the Land of Mist and Snow.
And every tongue thro' utter drouth
Was wither'd at the root ;
We could not speak no more than if
We had been choked with soot.
Ah wel-a-day ! what evil looks
Had I from old and young 5
Instead of the Cross the Albatross
About my neck was hung.
So past a weary time ; each throat
Was parch'd, and glaz'd each eye,
When, looking westward, I beheld
A something in the sky.
At first it seem'd a little speck
And then it seem'd a mist :
It mov'd and mov'd, and took at last
A certain shape, I wist.
A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist I
And still it ner'd and ner'd -,
And, as if it dodg'd a water-sprite,
It plung'd and tack'd and veer'ct
With throat unslack'd, with black lips bak'd
We could nor laugh nor wail j
Thro' utter drouth all dumb we stood
Till I bit my arm and suck'd the blood.
And cry'd, A sail ! a sail !
With throat unslack'd, with black lips
Agape they heard me call :
Gramercy ! fhey for joy did grin
And all at once their breath drew in
As they were drinking all.
See ! See ! (I cry'd) she tacks no more !
Hither to work us weal
Without a breeze, without a tide
She steddies with upright kee] I
The western wave was all a flame,
The day was well nigh done !
Almost upon the western wave
Rested the broad bright Sun ;
When that strange shape drove suddenly
Betwixt us and the Sun.
And strait the Sun was fleck'd with bars
(Heaven's mother send us grace)
As if thro' a dungeon grate he peer'd
With broad and burning face.
Alas ! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
How fast she neres and neres !
Are those her Sails that glance in the Sua
Like restless gossameres 7
Are those her Ribs, thro' which the Sun
Did peer, as thro' a grate ?
And are those two all, all her crew,
That Woman, and her Mate ?
His bones were black with many a crack,
All black and bare, I ween y
Jet-black and bare, save where with rust
Of mouldy damps and charnel crust
They were patch'd with purple and green*
Her lips were red, her looks were free,
Her locks were yellow as gold :
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
And she was far liker Death than he ;
Her flesh made the still air cold.
The naked Hulk alongside came
And the Twain were playing dice ;
" The Game is done ! I've won, I've won I"
Quoth she, and whistled thrice,
A gust of w 7 ind sterte up behind
And whistled thro' his bones j
Thro' the holes of his eyes and the hole of his mouth
Half-whistles and half-groans.
With never a whisper in the Sea
Off darts the Spe6tre-ship j
While clombe above the Eastern bar
The horned Moon, with one bright Star
Almost between the tips.
One after one by the horned Moon
(Listen, O Stranger ! to me)
Each turn'd his face with a ghastly pang
And curs'd me with his ee.
Four times fifty living men,
With never a sigh or groan,
With heavy thump, a lifeless lump
They dropp'd down one by one.
Their souls did from their bodies fly,-*-
They fled to bliss or woe ;
And every soul it pass'd me by,
Like the whiz of my Cross-bow.
" I fear thee, ancient Mariner !
" I fear thy skinny hand ;
" And thou art long and lank and brown
M As is the ribb'd Sea-sand.
'" I fear thee and thy glittering eye
u And thy skinny hand so brown —
Fear not, fear not, thou wedding guest !
This body dropt not down/
Alone, alone, all all alone
Alone on the wide wide Sea ;
And Christ would take no pity on
My soul in agony.
The many men so beautiful,
And they all dead did lie !
And a million million slimy thing*
Liv'd on — and so did I.
I look'd upon the rotting Sea,
And drew my eyes away j
I look'd upon the ghastly deek>
And there the dead men lay.
I look'd to Heaven, and try'd to pray ;
But or ever a prayer had gnsht,
A wicked whisper came and made
My heart as dry as dust.
I closd my lids and kept them close,
Till the balls like pulses beat 3
For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky
Lay like a load on my weary eye,
And the dead were at my feet.
The cold sweat melted from their limbs,
Nor rot, nor reek did they ;
The look with which they look'd on me,
Had never pass'd away.
An orphan's curse would drag to Hell
A spirit from on high :
But O ! more horrible than that
Is the curse in a dead man's eye !
Seven days, seven nights I saw that curse,
And yet I could not die.
The moving Moon went up the sky
And no where did abide :
Softly she was going up
And a star or two beside —
Her beams bemock'd the sultry main
Like April hoar-frost spread $
But where the ship's huge shadow lay,
The charmed water burnt alwa^
A still and awful red..
Beyond the shadow of the ship
I watch'd the water-snakes :
They mov'd in tracks of shining white;
And when they rear'd, the elfish light
Fell off in hoary flakes;
Within the shadow of the ship
I watch'd their rich attire :
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black
They coil'd and swam ; and every track
Was a flash of golden fire.
(D happy living things ! no tongue-
Their beauty might declare :
A. spring of love gusht from my heart)
And I bless'd them unaware !
Sure my kind saint took pity on me,,
And I bless'd them unaware..
The self-same moment I could pray j,
And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.
sleep, it is a gentle thing
Belov'd from pole to pole !
To Mary-queen the praise be given
She sent the gentle sleep from heaven
That slid into my soul.
The silly buckets on the deck
That had so long remain'd,
1 dreamt that they were fill'd with dew
And when I awoke it rain'd.
My lips were wet, my throat was cold,
My garments all were dank ;
Sure I had drunken in my dreams
And still my body drank.
1 mov'd and could not feel my limbs,
I was so light, almost
I thought that I had died in sleep,
And was a blessed Ghost.
And soon I heard a roaring wind,
It did not come anear ;
But with its sound it shook the sails
That were so thin and sere.
The upper air burst into life
And a hundred fire-flags sheen
To and fro they were hurried about y
And to and fro, and in and out
The wan stars danc'd between.
And the coming wind did roar more loud j
And the sails did sigh like sedge :
And the rain pour'd down from one black cloud
The moon was at its edge.
The thick black cloud was cleft, and still
The Moon was at its side i
Like waters shot from some high crag,
The lightning fell with never a jag
A river steep and wide.
The loud wind never reach'd the Ship,
Yet now the Ship mov'd on !
Beneath the lightning and the moon
The dead men gave a groan.
They groan'd, they stirr'd, they all uprose,
Nor spake, nor mov'd their eyes :
It had been strange, even in a dream
To have seen those dead men rise.
The helmsman steerd, the ship mov'd on ;
Yet never a breeze up-blew j
The Mariners all 'gan work the ropes,
Where they were wont to do :
They rais'd their limbs like lifeless tools —
We were a ghastly crew.
The body of my brother's son
Stood by me knee to knee :
The body and I pull'd at one rope.
But he said nought to me.
u I fear thee, ancient Mariner !
Be calm, thou wedding guest !
'Twas not those souls, that fled in pain,
Which to their corses came again,
But a troop of Spirits blest :
For when it dawn'd — they dropp'd their arms,
And cluster'd round the mast :
Sweet sounds rose slowly thro' their mouths
And from their bodies pass'd.
Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
Then darted to the sun :
Slowly the sounds came back again
Now mix'd, now one by one.
Sometimes a dropping from the sky
I heard the Sky-lark sing -,
Sometimes all little birds that are
How they seem'd to fill the sea and air
With their sweet jargoning.
And now 'twas like all instruments^,.
Now like a lonely flute ;
And now it is an angel's song
That makes the heavens be mute.
It ceas'd : yet still the sails made on
A pleasant noise till noon.,
A noise like of a hidden brook
In the leafy month of June,
That to the sleeping woods all night
Singeth a quiet tune.
Till noon we silently sail'd on
Yet never a breeze did breathe :
Slowly and smoothly went the Ship
Mov'd onward from beneath.
Under the keel nine fathom deep
From the land of mist and snow
The spirit slid : and it was He
That made the Ship to go.
The sails at noon left off their tune
And the Ship stood still also.
The sun right up above the mast
Had iix'd her to the ocean :
But in a minute she 'gan 6tir
With a short uneasy motion —
Backwards and forwards half her length
With a short uneasy motion.
Then, like a pawing horse let go.,
She made a sudden bound :
It flung the blood into my head,
And I fell into a swound.
How long in that same fit I lay,
I have not to declare 5
But ere my living life return'd,
I heard and in my soul discern 'd
Two voices in the air.
" Is it he ? quoth one, " Is this the man.
" By him who died on cross,
<c With his cruel bow he lay'd full low
" The harmless Albatross.
" The spirit who 'bideth by himself
M In the land of mist and snow,
" He lov'd the bird that lov'd the man
* Who shot him with his bow.
The other was a softer voice, '
As soft as honey-dew :
Quoth he the man hath penance done,
And penance more will do.
•* But tell me, tell me ! speak again,
" Thy soft response renewing —
<r What makes that ship drive on so fast ?
" What is the Ocean doing I
" Still as a Slave before his Lord,
" The Ocean hath no blast :
" His great bright eye most silently
" Up to the moon is cast —
m If he may know which way to go,
" For she guides him smooth or grim,
f* See, brother, see ! how graciously
" She looketh down on him.
<( But why drives' on that ship so fast
" Without or wave or wind ?
" The air is cut away before,
" And closes from behind
Fly, brother, fly ! more high, more high,
" Or we shall be belated :
For slow and slow that ship will go,
« When the Mariners trance is abated."
I woke, and we were sailing on;
As in a gentle weather :
Twas night, calm night, the moon was high -,
The dead men stood together.
All stood together on the deck,
For a charnel-dungeon fitter :
All rlx'd on me their stony eyes
That in the moon did glitter.
The pang, the curse, with which they died.
Had never pass'd away ;
I could not draw my eyes from theirs
Nor turn them up to pray.
And now this spell was snapt : once more
I view*d the ocean green,
And look'd far forth, yet little saw
Of what had else been seen.
Like one, that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turn'd round, walks on
And turns no more his head :
Because he knows, a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.
But soon there breath'd a wind on me>
Nor sound nor motion made :
Its path was not upon the sea
In ripple or in shade.
It rais'd my hair, it fann'd my cheek,
Like a meadow-gale of spring —
It mingled strangely with my fears,
Yet it felt like a welcoming.
Swiftly, swiftly flew the ship
Yet she sail'd softly too :
Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze-
On me alone it blew.
O dream of joy ! is this indeed
The light-house top I see ?
Is this the Hill ? Is this the Kirk ?
Is this mine own countree ?
We drifted o'er the Harbour-bar,
And I with sobs did pray* —
" Olet me be awake, my God !
" Or let me sleep alway !"
The harbour-bay was clear as glass,
So smoothly it was strewn 1
And on the bay the moonlight lay,
And the shadow of the moon.
The rock shone bright, the kirk no less
That stands above the rock :
The moonlight steep'd in silentness
The steady weathercock.
And the bay was white with silent light,
Till rising from the same
Full many shapes, that shadows were,
In crimson colours came.
A little distance from the prow
Those crimson shadows were :
I turn'd my eyes upon the deck —
O Christ ! what saw I there ?
Each corse lay flat, lifeless and flat y
And by the Holy rood
A man all light, a seraph-man,
On every corse there stood.
This seraph-band, each wav'd his hand i
It was a heavenly sight :
They stood as signals to the land,
Each pne a lovely light :
This seraph-band, each wav'd his hand,
No voice did they impart —
No voice j but O ! the silence sank,
Like music on my heart.
But soon I heard the dash of oars,
I heard the pilot's cheer :
My head was turn'd perforce away
And I saw a boat appear.
The pilot, and the pilot's boy
I heard them coming fastt
Dear Lord in Heaven ! it was a joy,
The dead men could not blast
I saw a third — I heard his voice :
Jt is the Hermit good !
He singeth loud his godly hymns
That he makes in the wood.
He'll shrieve my soul, he'll wash away
The Albatross's blood.
This Hermit good lives in that wood
"Which slopes down to the Sea.
How loudly his sweet voice he rears !
He loves to talk with Mariners
That come from a far countree.
He kneels at morn and noon and eve —
He hath a cushion plump :
It is the moss, that wholly hides
The rotted old Oak-stump.
The Skiff-boat ner'd : I heard them talk,
" Why, this is strange, I trow !
Where are those lights so many and fair
" That signal made but now ?
ee Strange, by my faith ! the Hermit said —
" And they answer d not our cheer.
" The planks look warp'd, and see those sails
ei How thin they are and sere !
" I never saw aught like to them
" Unless perchance it were
** The skeletons of leaves that lag
" My forest brook along :
" When the Ivy-tod is heavy with snow,
" And the Owlet whoops to the wolf below
f( That eats the she-wolf's young.
" Dear Lord ! it has a fiendish look —
(The Pilot made reply)
" I am a-fear'd. — " Push on, push on !
" Said the Hermit cheerily.
The Boat came closer to the Ship,
But I nor spake nor stirr d !
The Boat came close beneath the Ship,.
And strait a sound was heard !
Under the water it rumbled on,
Still louder and more dread :
It reach' d the Ship, it split the bay \
The Ship went down like lead.
Stunn'd by that loud and dreadtul sound.,
Which sky and ocean smote :
Like one that hath been seven days drown'd
My body lay afloat :
But, swift as dreams, myself I found
Within the Pilot's boat.
Upon the whirl, where sank the Ship,
The boat spun round and round ;
And all was still, save that the hill
Was telling of the sound.
I mov'd my lips : the Pilot shriek'd
And fell down in a fit.
The Holy Hermit rais'd his eyes
And pray'd where he did sit.
I took the oars : the Pilot's boy>
Who now doth crazy go,
Laugh'd loud and long, and all the while
His eyes went to and fro,
« Ha ! ha !" quoth he—" full plain I see,
" The devil knows how to row."
And now all in mine own Countree
I stood on the firm land !
The Hermit stepp'd forth from the boat,
And scarcely he could stand.
cc O shrieve me, shrieve me, holy Man V*
The Hermit cross'd his brow —
f!( Say quick," quoth he, 1 bid thee say
u What manner man art thou ?
forthwith this frame of mind was wrench'd
With a woeful agony,
Which forc'd me to begin my tale
And then it left me free.
Since then at an uncertain hour.
That agency returns ;
And till my ghastly tale is told .
This heart within me burns.
I pass, like night, from land to land ;
I have strange power of speech y
The moment that his face I see
I know the man that must hear me y
To him my tale I teach.
What loud uproar bursts from that door !
The Wedding-guests are there ;
But in the Garden-bower the Bride '
And Bride-maids singing are :
And hark the little Vesper-bell
Which biddeth me to prayer.
Wedding-guest ! this soul hath been
Alone on a wide wide sea :
So lonely 'twas, that God himself
Scarce seemed there to be.
O sweeter than the Marriage-feast
'Tis sweeter far to me
To walk together to the Kirk
With a goodly company.
To walk, together to the Kirk
And all together pray,
While each to his great father bends,
Old men, and babes, and loving friends.
And Youths, and Maidens gay.
Farewell, farewell ! but this I tell.
To thee, thou wedding-guest !
He prayeth well who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.
He prayeth best who loveth best
All things both great and small :
For the dear God, who loveth us.
He made and loveth all.
The Mariner, whose eye is bright,
Whose beard with age is hoar,
Is gone j and now the wedding-guest
Turn'd from the bridegroom's door.
He went, like one that hath been stunn'd
And is of sense forlorn :
A sadder and a wiser man
He rose the morrow morn,
Written a few miles above T1NTERN ABBEY, on revisiting
the banks of the WYE during a Tour.
July 13, 17Q8.
Five years have passed ; five summers, with thelengtU-
Of five long winters ! and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a sweet inland murmur.* — Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
Which on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion 5 and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
The day is come when I again repose
Here, under this dark sycamore, and view
These plots of cottage- ground, these orchard- tufts,.
* The river is 'not affe&ed by the tides a few miles
"Which, at this season, with their unripe fruits r
Among the woods and copses lose themselves,
Nor, with their green and simple hue, disturb
The wild green landscape. Once again I see
These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines
Of sportive wood run wild ; these pastoral farms
Green to the very door y and wreathes of smoke
Sent up, in silence, from among the trees*
With some uncertain notice, as might seem,
Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods,
Or of some hermit's cave, where by his fire
The hermit sits alone.
Though absent long,.
These forms of beauty have not been to me,
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye :
But oft, in lonely rooms, and mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart,.
And passing even into my purer mind,.
With tranquil restoration : — feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure : such, perhaps,
As may have had no trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man's life y
His little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,-
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime y that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Qf all this- unintelligible world
Is lightend : — that serene and blessed mood;,
In which the affections gently lead us on,
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame,
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul :
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.
Be but a vain belief, yet, oh ! how oft,
In darkness, and amid the many shapes
Of joyless day-light ; when the fretful stir
Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,
Have hung upon the beatings of my heart,
How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee
O sylvan Wye ! Thou wanderer through the woods,
How often has my spirit turned to thee !
And now, with gleams of half-extinguish'd thought,
With many recognitions dim and faint,
And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
The picture of the mind revives again :
While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts-
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years. And so I dare to hope
Though changed, no doubt, from what I was, when
I came among these hills ; when like a roe
I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides
Of the -deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
Wherever nature led : more like a man
Flying from something that he dreads, than one
Who sought the thing he loved. For nature then
(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days,
And their glad animal movements all gone by,)
To me was all in all. — I cannot paint
What then I was. The sounding cataract
Haunted me like a passion : the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colours and their forms, were then to me
An appetite : a feeling and a love,
That had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied, or any interest
Unborrowed from the eye. — That time is past.
And all its aching joys are now no more,
And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur : other gifts
Have followed, for such loss, I would believe.
Abundant recompence. For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts \ a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns>
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all obje&s of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I 6tiH
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains 5 and of all that we behold
'From this green earth ; of all the mighty world
Of eye and ear, both what they half create,*
And what perceive $ well pleased to recognize
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.
If I were not thus taught, should I the more
Suffer my genial spirits to decay :
For thou art with me, here, upon the banks
Of this fair river j thou, my dearest Friend,
My dear, dear Friend, and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
* This lme has a close resemblance to an admirable
line of Young, the -«xact expression of which I "cannot
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes. Oh ! yet a little while
May T behold in thee what I was once,
My dear, dear Sister ! And this prayer I make.
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her ; 'tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy : for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
Our chearful faith that all which we behold
Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk ;
And let the misty mountain winds be free
To blow against thee : and in after years,
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure, when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies $ Oh ! then,
If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
And these my exhortations ! Nor perchance,
If I should be, where I no more can hear
Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleami
Of past existence, wilt thou then forget
That on the banks of this delightful stream
We stood together 5 and that I, so long
A worshipper of Nature, hither came,
Unwearied in that service : rather say
With warmer love, oh ! with far deeper zeal
Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget,
That after many wanderings, many years
Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
More dear, both for themselves, and for thy sake.
Note to The Thorn, p. 38. — This Poem ought to hare
been preceded by an introductory Poem, which I have
been prevented from writing by never having felt myself
in a mood when it was probable that I should write it well.
— The chara&er which I have here introduced speaking
is sufficiently common The Reader will perhaps have
a general notion of it, if he has ever known a man, a Cap*
tain of a small trading vessel for example, who being past
the middle age of life, had retired upon an annuity or
small independent income*© some village or country town
of which he was not a native, or in which he had not been
accustomed to live. Such men having little to do become
credulous and talkative from indolence ; . and from the
same cause, and other predisposing causes by which it is
probable that such men may have been affe&ed, they
are prone to superstition. On which account it appeared
to me proper to selefta character like this to exhibit some
of the general laws by which superstition a6ls upon the
mind. Superstitious men are almost always men of slow
faculties and deep feelings ; their minds are not loose but
adhesive ; they have a reasonable share of imagination, by
which word I mean the faculty which produces impressive
effe&s out of simple elements ; but they are utterly desti-
tute of fancy, the power by which pleasure and surprize
are excited by sudden varieties of situation and by accumu-
It was my wish in this poem to shew the manner in which
such men cleave to the same ideas ; and to follow the turns
of passion, always different, yet pot palpably different, by
which their conversation is swayed. I had two objects to
attain ; first, to represent a picture which should not be
unimpressive yet consistent with the character that should
describe it, secondly, while I adhered to the style in which
such persons describe, to take care that words, which ia
their minds are impregnated with passion, should likewise
convey passion to Readers who are not accustomed to
sympathize with men feeling in -that manner or using such
language. It seemed to me that this might be done by
calling in the assistance of Lyrical and rapid Metre. It
was necessary that the Poem, to be natural, should in
reality move slowly ; yet I hoped, that, by the aid of the
metre, to those who should at all enter into the spirit of the
Poem, it would appear to move quickly. The Reader will
have the kindness to excuse this note as I am sensible that
an introdu&ory Poem is necessary to give this Poem its
Upon this occasion 1 will request permission to add a few
words closely connected with The Thorn and many other
Poems in these Volumes. There is a numerous class of
readers who imagine that the same words cannot be repeated
without tautology : this is a great error : virtual tautology
is much oftener produced by using different words when
the meaning is exactly the same. Words, a Poet's words
more particularly, ought to be weighed in the balance of
feeling and not measured by the space which they occupy
upon paper. For the Reader cannot be too often re-
minded that Poetry is passion : it is the history or science
of feelings : now every man must know that an attempt is
rarely made to communicate impassioned feelings without
something of an accompanying consciousness of the inade-
quateness of our own powers, or the deficiencies of lan-
guage. During such efforts there will be a craving in the
mind, and as long as it is unsatisfied the Speaker will cling
to the same words, or words of the same character. There
are also various other reasons why repetition and apparent
tautology are frequently beauties of the highestkind. Among
the chief of these reasons is the interest which the mind at-
taches to words, not only as symbols of the passion, but
as things, aftive and efficient, which are of themselves
part of the passion. And further, from a spirit of fond-
. ness, exultation, and gratitude, the mind luxuriates in
the repetition of words which appear successfully to com-
municate its feelings. The truth of these remarks might
be shewn by innumerable passages from the Bible and
from the impassioned poetry of every nation.
* Awake, awake Deborah ■ awake, awake, utter a song:
Aitee Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou Son of
At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down : at her feet
be bowed, he fell ; where he bowed there he fell down
Why is his Chariot so long in coming ? Why tarry the
Wheels of his Chariot?"— Judges, Chap. 5th. Verses 12th,
27th, and part of 28th.— See also the whole of that
tumultuous and wonderful Poem.
Note to the Ancient Mariner, p. 155. — I cannot refuse
myself the gratification of informing such Readers as may
have been pleased with this Poem, or with any part of it, that
they owe their pleasure in some sort to me ; as the Author
was himself very desirous that it should be suppressed.
This wish had arisen from a consciousness of the defects
of the Poem, and from a knowledge that many persons had
been much displeased with it. The Poem of my Friend
has indeed great defefts ; first, that the principal person
has no distinct character, either in his profession of Mari-
ner, or as a human being who having been long under the
controul of supernatural impressions might be supposed
himself to partake of something supernatural : secondly,
that-hedoes not aft, but is continually a&ed upon : thirdly,
that the events having no necessary connexion do not
produce each other ; and lastly, that the imagery is some-
what too laboriously accumulated. Yet the Poem contains
many delicate touches of passion, and indeed the passion
is every where true to nature ; a great number of the stan-
zas present beautiful images, and are expresssd with unu-
sual felicity of language ; and the versification, though the
metre is itself unfit for long poems, is harmonious and
artfully varied, exhibiting the utmost powers of that metre,
and every variety of which it is capable. It therefore
appeared to me that these several merits (the first of which,
namely that of the passion , is of the highest kind,) gave to
the Poem a value which is not often possessed by better
Poems. On this account I requested of my Friend to per-
mit me to republish it.
Note to the Poem On revisiting the Wye, p. 20). —
I have not ventured to call this Poem an Ode ; but it was
written with a hope that in the transitions, and the im-
passioned music of the versification would be found the
principal requisites of that species of composition.
END OF VOL. I.
Printed by BIGGS and COTTLE, St- Augustines-Sack, Briftol,